Asian stocks shrug off Wall Street weakness but growth concerns remain

Hong Kong’s, Shanghai’s and China’s indexes opened marginally higher while Japan’s Nikkei share average was down 0.18 per cent. — Reuters pic

Hong Kong’s, Shanghai’s and China’s indexes opened marginally higher while Japan’s Nikkei share average was down 0.18 per cent. — Reuters pic

Wednesday, 25 May 2022 10:53 AM MYT

NEW YORK, May 25 — Asia stocks opened mostly in positive territory today even as global growth concerns and weak US economic data weighed on Wall Street overnight.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.35 per cent, Australian shares were up 0.33 per cent, and Seoul and Taiwan both ticked upwards 0.61 per cent and 0.2 per cent.

Hong Kong’s, Shanghai’s and China’s indexes opened marginally higher while Japan’s Nikkei share average was down 0.18 per cent.

On Wall Street, the Nasdaq Composite dropped 2.35 per cent and the S&P 500 lost 0.81 per cent as worries returned over surging global inflation cornering central banks into aggressive rate hikes, thereby slowing growth.

“The Fed’s problem right now is that plenty of soft indicators and surveys are pointing to a slowdown,” Steve Englander of Standard Chartered Bank said.

“While hard data on activity and inflation do not suggest an imminent slowdown, it is hard to ignore a day when the S&P services PMI, new home sales, and Richmond Fed index all come in below the lowest expectation.”

New home sales in the US fell 16.6 per cent month-on-month in April, the largest decline in nine years, sending US Treasuries yields down to one-month lows as investors turned once again to safety.

The benchmark 10-year note was at 2.768 per cent and the two-year yield fell to 2.464 per cent, the lowest since April 19, before rising back to 2.483 per cent.

Gold prices also held their ground at US$1,865.39 (RM8,197.46) per ounce, having risen to their highest in two weeks yesterday as the safe-haven metal’s appeal was lifted by a weaker US dollar and lower Treasury yields.

Oil prices climbed on the prospect of tight supplies US crude futures stood at US$110.45 a barrel, and Brent rose to US$114.22.

Social media stocks were left in particularly bad shape on Wall Street after a profit warning from Snap sent its shares plunging 43 per cent. — Reuters