Asian markets mostly fell in early trading Thursday, following losses on Wall Street after Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said the economic recovery will be “a long road.”
Japan’s Nikkei 225 NIK, -2.79% dropped 1% while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index HSI, -1.64% slipped 0.5%. The Shanghai Composite SHCOMP, -0.59% was about flat, while the smaller-cap Shenzhen Composite 399106, -0.36% rose 0.6%. South Korea’s Kospi 180721, -1.98% dipped 0.5% and Singapore’s Straits Times Index STI, -2.91% sank 2%, while benchmark indexes in Taiwan Y9999, -1.57% , Malaysia FBMKLCI, -0.97% and Indonesia JAKIDX, -0.50% were little changed. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 XJO, -3.07% fell 2.2%.
“After an impressive rally in recent weeks, the FOMC passing without incident, and record bullish open interest on S&P 500 options, it is no surprise that equities globally needed to stop for breath,” Jeffrey Halley, senior Asia Pacific market analyst for OANDA, wrote in a note.
Singapore is facing its worst recession ever, the managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore said Thursday. Pandemic-related shocks to both supply and demand will cause the nation’s GDP to contract between 7% and 4% this year, the Wall Street Journal reported.
U.S. stocks finished mostly lower Wednesday even though the Federal Reserve pledged to hold interest rates unchanged at near zero through 2022. Powell kept a cautious tone despite signs of a recovering economy in the wake of coronavirus-related shutdowns. He said the economy’s direction still looks “highly uncertain,” but said “we are going to learn a whole lot” over the next few months as businesses continue to reopen.
“The key thing people need to understand,” Powell said, is that there remains “a lot of work” to do with millions of people still out of jobs.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -1.03% fell 282.31 points, or 1%, to close at 26,989.99, and the S&P 500 SPX, -0.53% shed 17.04 points, or 0.5%, finishing at 3,190.14 — the second straight day of losses for each. The Nasdaq Composite COMP, +0.66% climbed 66.59 points, or 0.7%, to close at a record high of 10,020.35.
Benchmark U.S. crude oil for July delivery CLN20, -4.09% sank to $38.48 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude oil for August delivery BRNQ20, -3.45% , the global benchmark, fell to $40.70 a barrel.
In currency dealings, the U.S. dollar USDJPY, +0.01% slipped to 106.94 Japanese yen.