Asian Shares Decline On Hawkish Fed Bets

Asian stocks fell on Wednesday as investors fretted about the potential for further Federal Reserve tightening and the impact it has on global growth.

The dollar gained on rising yields and gold was unchanged, while oil steadied after a recent string of losses.

Chinese shares fell amid signs that Beijing wants to play a more active role in the Ukraine conflict.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index dropped 0.5 percent to 3,291.15, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index slid 0.5 percent to settle at 20,423.84 as Financial Secretary Paul Chan presented budget proposals for the fiscal year starting in April 2023.

Japanese shares hit a one-month low on geopolitical tensions and U.S. rate hike worries. The Nikkei 225 Index tumbled 1.3 percent to 27,104.32, while the broader Topix ended 1.1 percent lower at 1,975.25.

Heavyweight Fast Retailing gave up 1.8 percent after fourth-quarter earnings and forecasts from mega-retailers like Walmart and Home Depot raised concerns about the strength of the U.S. consumer.

Seoul stocks plunged, with the Kospi average closing down 1.7 percent at 2,417.68 ahead of the release of the Federal Reserve’s latest minutes later in the day. LG Energy Solution, LG Chem and Celltrion lost 2-4 percent.

Australian markets hit a six-week low as investors reacted to softer-than-expected wages data. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index slipped 0.3 percent to 7,314.50, while the broader All Ordinaries Index closed 0.4 percent lower at 7,517.

Domino’s Pizza shares plummeted nearly 24 percent after the pizza chain operator reported a decline in its first-half profit.

Origin Energy jumped 12.7 percent as a Brookfield-led consortium trimmed its offer for the power and gas giant by 1 percent after months of due diligence.

Across the Tasman, New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX-50 Index finished marginally lower at 11,794.22 after the country’s central bank raised its benchmark interest rate by a half-percentage point to 4.75 percent and maintained a forecast peak rate of 5.5 percent.

U.S. stocks fell the most in two months overnight and yields on 10-year Treasuries hit a three-month peak amid ongoing worries about interest rates and gloomy forecasts from retailers Home Depot and Walmart.

Strong business activity data following recent robust data on retail sales, the labor market and manufacturing production led investors to anticipate higher rates for longer.

The Dow tumbled 2.1 percent and the S&P 500 shed 2 percent to hit their lowest closing levels in a month, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite plunged 2.5 percent.

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