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Asian Stocks Down as COVID-19 Economic Recovery Concerns Persist

Stock MarketsJul 15, 2021 10:27PM ET
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By Gina Lee – Asia Pacific stocks were mostly down on Friday morning, as ongoing concerns about the economic recovery from COVID-19 ended the week on a sour note.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 slid 1.13% by 10:21 PM ET (2:21 AM GMT), with the Bank of Japan handing down its policy decision later in the day.

South Korea’s KOSPI was down 0.53% and in Australia, the ASX 200 was down 0.22%.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell 0.83%. The U.S. is due to issue an advisory cautioning its companies about the risks of doing business in the city, a move that could escalate tensions between the U.S. and China.

China’s Shanghai Composite edged down 0.19% and the SZSE Component was down 0.29%.

U.S. counterparts also fell, with declines in growth favorite stocks in the energy and technology sector such as Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN). dragging Wall Street lower. However, vaccine producer Moderna Inc. (NASDAQ:MRNA) saw its shares rally in extended trading after the company said that it was set to join the S&P 500.

The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury yield is set for a third weekly retreat and on the data front, the 360,000 initial jobless claims were filed for the week.

U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell wrapped up his second day of testimony before the House of Representatives Financial Services Committee on Thursday. There, he continued to hold his view that uncomfortably high inflation would be temporary, although he has said the U.S. economic recovery is far from over, with the Fed closing watching inflation before it begins asset tapering.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen reiterated Powell’s views, saying she expects “several more months of rapid inflation,” adding that expectations for price gains still look well contained.

However, others raised concerns that higher inflation will hurt the economic outlook, with some of Powell’s colleagues even arguing that the time has come to scale back emergency policy settings. St. Louis Fed President James Bullard urged a move forward in reducing stimulus, arguing the goal of achieving “substantial further progress” on both inflation and employment has been met.

Global stocks continued to remain near record levels, but the Fed’s eventual asset tapering, ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks involving the Delta variant, indications of a peaking economic recovery and slowing corporate earnings momentum all remain as risks.

However, some investors remained optimistic that the growth cycle is not over yet.

“It’s possible that we’ve reached peak growth, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the cycle is rolling over,” J O Hambro Capital Management senior fund manager Giorgio Caputo told Bloomberg.

“When you factor in those peak growth concerns, as well as what’s been going on with the Delta variant of COVID-19 and the way interest rates have been declining, it does seem like we’re having a little bit of a growth scare,” he added.

Asian Stocks Down as COVID-19 Economic Recovery Concerns Persist

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Comments (1)
Chandrakant Shah
Chandrakant Shah Jul 15, 2021 11:16PM ET
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Fed is not watching inflation for tapering. It's watching indices. No look back till Dow hits 50k, NASDAQ 25k and S&P hits 5k
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