GLOBAL MARKETS DJIA 35365.44 -532.20 -1.48% Nasdaq 15169.68 -10.75 -0.07% S&P 500 4620.64 -48.03 -1.03% FTSE 100 7269.92 9.31 0.13% Nikkei Stock 28099.38 -446.30 -1.56% Hang Seng 23038.77 -153.86 -0.66% Kospi 2980.09 -37.64 -1.25% SGX Nifty* 16920.00 -99.0 -0.58% *Dec contract USD/JPY 113.56-57 -0.13 Range 113.84 113.47 EUR/USD 1.1243-46 +0.05 Range 1.1252 1.1235 CBOT Wheat March $7.750 per bushel Spot Gold $1,800.25/oz 0.1% Nymex Crude (NY) $70.47 -$1.91 US STOCKS
Stocks turned in a weak session on Friday as investors assessed the potential impact of policy shifts by the world’s largest central banks on inflation and growth.
The S&P 500 fell 1%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average weakened 1.5% and the Nasdaq Composite Index pared earlier losses and finished the day down about 0.1%.
Markets have been dragged down toward the end of last week by concerns about the possibility of higher interest rates in the future. Shortly after the Federal Reserve announced Wednesday its plan to speed up the tapering of its pandemic-era stimulus measures and possibly raise interest-rate increases next year, equities had rallied.
“People are scratching their heads and wondering ‘Wow, was the post-Fed meeting reality just a complete head fake?’,” said Jordan Kahn, chief investment officer of ACM Funds.
Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average fell 0.8% to 28322.20, tracking Wall Street’s losses that were fueled by growing worries that the spread of the Covid-19 Omicron variant may slow the global economic recovery. Auto and oil stocks were among the worst performers. USD/JPY was at 113.54, compared with 113.57 as of Friday’s Tokyo stock market close.
South Korea’s Kospi fell 0.9% to 2991.27 as the rapid spread of the Omicron variant diminished risk appetite. Critical Covid-19 cases surged to a record high on Sunday even as the government reimposed curbs to contain the fast spread of the virus, Yonhap News Agency reported. However, total new cases dropped below 7,000 for the first time in five days.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index traded 0.6% lower at 23047.19, weighed by weaker investor sentiment thanks to the outlook for tighter Fed monetary policy and the worsening spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
Asian currencies weakened against USD in morning Asian trading due to risk-off sentiment spurred by regional equity-market losses and concerns over the spread of the Covid-19 Omicron variant. Volume may be relatively light in this holiday-shortened trading week, running the risks of exacerbating any selloff, IG said. Key economic data to watch will only come Thursday, when U.S. core PCE price index and durable goods data will be released, IG said. USD/KRW edged 0.1% higher to 1,189.15 and USD/SGD was up 0.1% at 1.3676. AUD/USD was down 0.2% at 0.7115.
CNY weakened marginally against USD after the PBOC cut the one-year loan prime rate to 3.80% from 3.85%. China’s central bank left the five-year loan prime rate, which is used as a reference for mortgages, at 4.65%. USD/CNY rose as much as 0.06% to 6.3793 before trading little changed at 6.3780. USD/CNH was steady at 6.3872.
Gold edged higher, continuing its post-FOMC rally supported by a weak U.S. dollar and signs of year-end risk hedging from investors, Oanda said. “As ever, though, the rally overnight has more than a small hint of desperate fast-money to it,” Oanda said. “The jury is still out on whether the rally is sustainable,” Oanda added, putting resistance at $1,810 an ounce followed by $1,820 an ounce. Spot gold was recently 0.1% higher at $1,800.25/oz.
Oil slid amid growing concerns over the spread of the Covid-19 Omicron variant. The current surge in the virus is likely to lead to some Americans canceling holiday travel plans, Oanda said, adding that Covid news may continue to be a drag for oil prices for the rest of this year. Front-month WTI crude oil futures were down 2.1% at $69.39/bbl, while front-month Brent fell 2.0% to $72.02/bbl.
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
December 19, 2021 22:15 ET (03:15 GMT)
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