Asian Shares Mostly Lower On China Concerns, U.S. Rate Uncertainty

Asian stocks ended mostly lower on Friday amid lingering worries about the Chinese economy and higher interest rates.

The dollar and Treasury yields fell slightly from recent highs, helping limit regional losses to some extent.

Yields on the 10-year note came close to the October peak on Thursday after Wednesday’s publication of minutes from the last Federal Reserve meeting as well as upbeat U.S. economic data added to fears of interest rates remaining higher for longer.

Amid fears the Fed may have to lift rates again to tame inflation, investors also awaited cues from next week’s gathering of policymakers at Jackson Hole in Wyoming.

Chinese shares fell notably after property developer Evergrande, which has been working on a debt restructuring strategy for several months, filed for bankruptcy in New York.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index slumped 1.0 percent to 3,131.95, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index plunged 2.1 percent to 17,950.85 on fears of contagion from China’s property sector crisis.

Japanese shares ended lower, and the yen regained some ground after data showed Japan’s consumer inflation slowed in July, supporting the case for the Bank of Japan’s ultra-easy monetary policy stance.

The Nikkei 225 Index dropped 0.6 percent to 31,450.76, extending losses for a third straight session. The broader Topix Index closed 0.7 percent lower at 2,237.29.

Chip-related shares bucked the weak trend, with Advantest, Screen Holdings and Tokyo Electron rising between 0.7 percent and 1.5 percent.

Seoul stocks fell for a sixth straight session amid concerns about rising bond yields. The Kospi settled 0.6 percent lower at 2,504.50 – its lowest closing level since May 17.

The benchmark index tumbled 3.4 percent for the week, marking its fifth straight weekly loss and the biggest since late September 2022.

LG Energy Solution, LG Chem, Samsung SDI and SK Innovation lost 2-3 percent, while Celltrion soared 4.7 percent on its plan to absorb its subsidiary Celltrion Healthcare.

Australian markets ended a choppy session little changed amid a lot of uncertainty about the Chinese economy and demand.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index and the broader All Ordinaries Index both finished marginally higher at 7,148.10 and 7,366, respectively, as miners advanced on hopes of more policy support from China.

Across the Tasman, New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 Index slipped 0.4 percent to end at 11,611.19.

U.S. stocks fell for a third consecutive session overnight as yields on long-term Treasury Notes climbed to a 16-year high on fears of further interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve.

New jobless claims data pointed to a still tight labor market and a gauge of regional manufacturing activity rebounded in August to show its first positive reading in nearly a year, keeping alive fears of interest rates remaining higher for longer.

The Dow and the S&P 500 both dropped around 0.8 percent, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite shed 1.2 percent.

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