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Asian shares slide after Wall Street

BANGKOK (AP) — Shares slipped in Asia on Wednesday, tracking a decline on Wall Street a day after stocks there hit their highest level since the start of August.

Tokyo and Mumbai advanced while most other major markets declined. US futures were little changed and oil prices edged lower.

Trading is tapering off ahead of holidays in the US and Japan on Thursday, with few data releases to drive activity.

US home sales fell more than four per cent in October, while minutes from the latest policy setting meeting of the Federal Reserve showed the central bank in a holding pattern as it assesses the impact of its aggressive interest rate hikes on inflation and the economy overall.

Wednesday will bring an update on durable goods orders and a consumer sentiment survey by the University of Michigan.

Asia is also relatively quiet on the data front.

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 edged 0.3 per cent higher to 33,450.18 and the Kospi in Seoul slipped 0.1 per cent to 2,508.55.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng shed 0.1 per cent to 17,720.18, while the Shanghai Composite index was down 0.3 per cent, at 3,059.16.

Troubled property developer Sunac China Holding’s shares rose 3.8 per cent as state media reported it had completed a restructuring of its USD90 billion in debts. That followed reports that the government was urging lenders to ease provide financing on easier terms for developers on a so-called “white list.”

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 slipped 0.1 per cent to 7,069.50. Shares also fell in Taiwan and Thailand, while the Sensex in Mumbai was up 0.1 per cent.

Currency traders watch computer monitors near the screens showing the foreign exchange rates at a foreign exchange dealing room in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, November 22, 2023. PHOTO: AP

On Tuesday, the S&P 500 slipped 0.2 per cent, to 4,538.19 for just its third loss in the last 17 days. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.2 per cent to 35,088.29, and the Nasdaq composite dipped 0.6 per cent to 14,199.98.

Retailers were mixed after several reported their earnings for the latest quarter and, more importantly, their forecasts for the upcoming holiday shopping season. Lowe’s sank 3.1 per cent despite reporting better profit for the latest quarter.

Best Buy dipped 0.7 per cent after likewise beating analysts’ expectations for profit in the latest quarter but falling short on revenue and cutting its forecast for the full year. Its CEO, Corie Barry, said demand from customers has been “more uneven and difficult to predict.”

However, Dick’s Sporting Goods rose 2.2 per cent after delivering stronger profit and revenue for the third quarter than analysts expected, as customers both bought more at each transaction and made more total purchases. It raised its forecasts for full-year results.

Stocks have gained recently on rising hopes that inflation has cooled enough to make the Federal Reserve’s next move on interest rates a cut rather than a hike. The Fed’s main interest rate is at its highest level since 2001 as it tries to slow the economy and hurt investment prices just enough to smother inflation without causing a painful recession.

Deutsche Bank expects the US economy to fall into a mild recession early in 2024 and the Fed to begin cutting rates in June. The rest of Wall Street is split on whether a recession could occur as the job market and inflation slow under the weight of high rates and yields.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury was steady at 4.42 per cent, where it was late Monday. Just a few weeks ago, it was above five per cent, at its highest level since 2007 and undercutting prices for stocks and other investments.

In other trading, US benchmark crude oil shed USD0.07 to USD77.70 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gave up USD0.06 to USD77.77 on Tuesday.

Brent crude, the international standard, lost USD0.09 to USD82.36 a barrel.

The US dollar weakened to JPY148.30 from JPY148.39 late Tuesday. The euro rose to USD1.0914 from USD1.0912.