Asian actions mixed ahead of Fed policy statement


A man wearing a protective mask walks past an electronic board displaying Japan's Nikkei 225 index at a securities firm on Tuesday, December 14, 2021 in Tokyo.  Stocks were mostly down in Asia on Tuesday after Wall Street pulled back from recent record highs on weakness in tech stocks.  (AP Photo / Eugene Hoshiko)

A man wearing a protective mask walks past an electronic board displaying Japan’s Nikkei 225 index at a securities firm on Tuesday, December 14, 2021 in Tokyo. Stocks were mostly down in Asia on Tuesday after Wall Street pulled back from recent record highs on weakness in tech stocks. (AP Photo / Eugene Hoshiko)

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Stocks were mixed in Asia on Wednesday after new US data showed inflation was still high, highlighting actions the Federal Reserve will take at its last meeting of the year.

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index was virtually unchanged at 28,429.93 and Seoul’s Kospi lost 0.3% to 2,978.10. In Sydney, the S & P / ASX 200 lost 0.5% to 7,343.20.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 0.2%, while the Shanghai Composite Index edged up 0.1%.

The 10-year Treasury yield remained stable at 1.44%.

China reported that its retail sales slowed in November, increasing 3.9% from the previous year, from a 4.9% increase in October. Industrial production recovered slightly, increasing 3.8% from the previous year, from 3.5% in October.

“COVID-19 remained the main reason preventing a full recovery. Efforts to contain the virus surge from mid-October lasted most of November, with infections reaching 21 provinces, making consumers more cautious, ”Capital Economics’ Mark Williams and Sheana Yue said in a report. remark.

A second case of omicron was reported confirmed in China on Wednesday, underscoring the continuing threat of infections as new variants of the coronavirus emerge.

On Tuesday, the S&P 500 Index fell 0.7% to 4,634.09. It hit an all-time high on Friday, when it closed its biggest weekly gain since February. The index is up 23.4% since the start of the year.

The Dow Jones fell 0.3% to 35,544.18. The Nasdaq fell 1.1% to 15,237.64. The Russell 2000 lost 1% to 2,159.65.

The sale came after the Labor Department reported that prices at the wholesale level jumped a record 9.6% in November from a year earlier. The ministry’s producer price index measures inflation before it reaches consumers.

Companies have faced supply chain issues and higher costs for months and pass those costs on to consumers, who have so far absorbed higher prices on everything from groceries to clothing and other consumer products. The Labor Department said on Friday that consumer prices jumped 6.8% for the 12 months ending in November, the biggest increase in 39 years.

The discouraging reports on inflation preceded the Federal Reserve meeting which began on Tuesday.

The Fed is expected to speed up the process of reducing bond purchases, which has helped keep interest rates low and support the stock market and the economy in general. Beyond that, investors are watching the central bank for any statements on how quickly it could raise interest rates in 2022.

Tech stocks led the market pullback on Tuesday. Microsoft fell 3.3% and Adobe slipped 6.6% for the biggest decline in the S&P 500.

Wall Street is also keeping a close watch on any news of the latest variant of the coronavirus which is spreading rapidly in Britain and some other areas. It appears to cause less severe illness than previous versions of the coronavirus, according to an analysis of data from South Africa. Pfizer’s vaccine appears to offer less defense against infection but still offers good protection against hospitalization.

Energy stocks fell on the back of a 0.8% drop in the price of US crude oil. US crude fell 82 cents to $ 69.91 per barrel on Wednesday. Brent crude, the basis of international pricing, fell 75 cents to $ 72.95 a barrel.

The US dollar fell from 113.73 yen to 113.75 Japanese yen. The euro strengthened to $ 1.1263 from $ 1.1259.

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AP Business editors Alex Veiga and Damian J. Troise contributed.

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