TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares were mixed Thursday as sentiments got initially dragged down by a slide on Wall Street, but Chinese benchmarks later recovered on optimism for growth.
KEEPING SCORE: Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 lost 1.6 percent to finish at 21,724.47. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 shed 0.7 percent to 5,973.30. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was little changed at 30,851.21, while the Shanghai Composite edged up 0.4 percent to 3,271.79. South Korean markets were closed for Independence Movement Day, a national holiday.
WALL STREET: The S&P 500 fell 30.45 points, or 1.1 percent, to 2,713.83, while the Dow Jones industrial average lost 380.83, or 1.5 percent, to 25,029.20 and the Nasdaq composite dropped 57.35, or 0.8 percent, to 7,273.01. The dominant fear for the month was the threat of higher inflation and interest rates, and February was the worst month for the U.S. market in two years.
UPBEAT CHINA: China’s Communist Party affirmed promises to give market forces the “decisive role” in allocating resources. The party’s ambitious agenda includes nurturing more sustainable growth driven by domestic consumption instead of trade and investment and doubling incomes from 2010 levels by 2020. Last year’s economic growth ticked up to 6.9 percent, among the world’s strongest.
THE QUOTE: “Federal Reserve Chairman Powell erred to the hawkish side and had speculation running rampant that the Feds will trigger quicker pace of interest rate increases as the economy accelerates,” says Stephen Innes, head of trading at Oanda, referring to remarks earlier in the week that has the market anticipating higher interest rates in the U.S.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude added 7 cents to .71 per barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, rose 4 cents to .77 per barrel.
CURRENCIES: The dollar dipped to 106.76 Japanese yen from 107.18 yen late Wednesday. The euro fell to .2196 from .2202.
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