Stock market today: Asian shares fall as strong US data dash hopes for an end to rate hikes

AP , Friday 7 Jul 2023

Asian shares slipped Friday after another decline on Wall Street, where hopes for an end to interest rate hikes were again shaken by strong jobs data.

Stocks Japan
A person walks in front of an electronic stock board showing Japan s Nikkei 225 index at a securities firm Friday, July 7, 2023, in Tokyo. AP


U.S. futures fell and oil prices were higher.

Investors were watching for updates from U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen's visit to Beijing, where she was meeting with senior Chinese officials to try to soothe antagonisms over a host of issues and promote global financial stability.

Tokyo's Nikkei 225 shed 1.2% to 32,388.42 and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong dropped 0.8% to 18,384.17. The Shanghai Composite index lost 0.3% to 3,197.42, while Australia's S&P/ASX 200 sank 1.7% to 7,042.30.

India's Sensex sank 0.6% and Bangkok's SET index lost 0.3%.

A jobs report Friday will likely have a much bigger impact on Wall Street than anything else this week.

While a sturdy U.S. labor market keeps the economy out of a long-feared recession, it could also push the Federal Reserve to keep interest rates higher for longer in its campaign to defeat high inflation. That in turn could mean more pressure down the line on the economy and financial markets worldwide.

A report from ADP Research Institute suggested hiring by American private employers was much stronger last month than economists expected, with nearly twice as many jobs created than forecast.

But another report showed the number of U.S. workers applying for unemployment last week remains low relative to history, even if it was a bit higher than expected.

The Federal Reserve has raised its federal funds rate by 5 percentage points from virtually zero in the past year, trying to smother the worst inflation in decades by slowing the entire economy.

“As the growth trajectory of the U.S. economy improves, it becomes increasingly more challenging to envision what would cause the Fed to CUT rates anytime soon, as many market participants have been anticipating,” Stephen Innes of SPI Asset Management said in a commentary.

On Thursday, the S&P 500 lost 0.8%, to 4,411.59. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 1.1% to 33,922.26 and the Nasdaq composite gave up 0.8% to 13,679.04.

Other reports on Thursday offered a nuanced picture. One said employers advertised fewer job openings in May than expected. That could mean less upward pressure on inflation. A separate report meanwhile said growth in U.S. services industries remains hot and accelerated in June.

Friday's jobs report will likely have a much bigger impact on Wall Street than anything else this week.

Yields jumped in the bond market as traders ramped up bets for the Fed to keep rates higher for longer than previously expected. Hopes for a potential cut to interest rates by early next year diminished.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 4.04% from 3.94% late Wednesday. It helps set rates for mortgages and other important loans.

The two-year Treasury yield, which moves more on expectations for the Fed, climbed to 4.99% from 4.95%. It’s back to where it was in early March, before the failures of several U.S. banks rattled confidence across financial markets.

On Wall Street, Exxon Mobil was one of the heaviest weights on the market after it tumbled 3.7%.

JetBlue Airways sank 7.2% after it said it will end a partnership with American Airlines in the northeastern United States after losing a court fight over the deal. JetBlue will focus instead on salvaging its proposed purchase of Spirit Airlines. American Airlines fell 2.4%.

Meta Platforms, the parent company of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, wavered between small gains and losses after unveiling its new app Threads, a rival to Twitter, which has had a bumpy ride under new owner Elon Musk. Meta ended the day down 0.8%.

In other trading Friday, U.S. benchmark crude oil added 33 cents to $72.13 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gained 1 cent to $71.80 on Thursday.

Brent crude, the pricing basis for international trading, picked up 33 cents to $76.85 per barrel.

The dollar slipped to 143.39 Japanese yen from 144.06 yen. The euro rose to $1.0889 from $1.0890.

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