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Asian stocks mixed after Fed confirms rate hike plans


AP Business Writer

BEIJING (AP) — Asian stock markets were mixed Thursday after notes from the Federal Reserve’s latest meeting confirmed expectations for more interest rate hikes but contained no surprises to rattle investors.

Benchmarks in Hong Kong and Sydney declined while Tokyo, Shanghai and Seoul were higher. Oil prices also advanced.

Investors are uneasy over the impact of interest rate hikes in the United States and other Western economies to cool surging inflation. Wednesday’s Fed release showed board members support 0.5-percentage-point hikes at their next two meetings. That will weigh on economic activity but already was factored into stock prices.

There were no “hawkish or dovish surprises” or mention of a bigger increase, said Anderson Alves of ActivTrades in a report.

The Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.4% to 3,111.17 and the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo advanced less than 0.1% to 26,689.00. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong shed 0.6% to 20,053.50.

The Kospi in Seoul gained 0.5% to 2,630.34 while Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 sank 0.4% to 7,126.20. New Zealand and Singapore rose while Bangkok retreated.

On Wall Street, the benchmark S&P 500 index rose 0.9% to 3,978.73. The Dow Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.6% to 32,120.28. The Nasdaq composite climbed 1.5% to 11,434.74.

The minutes from the Fed meeting this month show most board members agreed that half-point increases to the Fed’s benchmark short-term rate “would likely be appropriate.” That would be double the usual margin of increases.

Investors also are worried about the impact of Russia’s February invasion of Ukraine and an unexpectedly sharp Chinese economic slowdown.

They hope the Fed will be able to cool inflation that is running at a four-decade high without tipping the biggest global economy into recession.

The Fed raised its key interest rate by 0.5 percentage points at its May meeting in its most aggressive move in two decades. It indicated more hikes were to come.

The S&P 500 is coming off of a seven-week series of declines that came close to ending the bull market for stocks that began in March 2020.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude added 58 cents to $110.91 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It rose 56 cents the previous session to $110.33. Brent crude, the price basis for international oils, gained 44 cents to $111.56 per barrel in London. It advanced 47 cents the previous session to $114.13 a barrel.

The dollar edged up to 127.36 yen from 127.32 yen. The euro gained to $1.0698 from $1.0688.

Article Topic Follows: AP National

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