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Asian indices retreat as tech stocks tumble on Wall St

The big question is how worried is the Fed about inflation, says Brad McMillan, chief investment officer for Commonwealth Financial Network

Asian indices retreat as tech stocks tumble on Wall St

Asian indices retreat as tech stocks tumble on Wall St

Investors price in strong growth in inflation expectations for the future; Rising US Treasury yields and growing Omicron cases weighed on sentiment

Tokyo: Asian benchmarks mostly slipped Wednesday as technology shares in the region echoed a similar drop in the sector on Wall Street.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 was little changed at 29,301.22 in morning trading. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 dipped 0.3% to 7,567.20. South Korea's Kospi dropped 1.4% to 2,950.00. Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed 1.1% to 23,025.67, while the Shanghai Composite lost 0.6% to 3,609.14. Worries continue about Covid-19, as reports of the more contagious Omicron keep growing in the region. In Japan, many people are not heeding warnings to take precautions and crowds have been out at levels close to pre-pandemic levels in Tokyo, where booster shots have barely gotten started.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has promised to speed them up, starting with medical professionals. "The region may continue to see increasing Omicron virus spreads ahead, but recent manufacturing PMIs seem to be holding up for now. The risk may lie in any further restriction measures, which could cloud the services sector outlook, along with disruption to supply chains," said Yeap Jun Rong, market strategist at IG in Singapore, referring to purchasing manager indexes, an economic indicator on the manufacturing and service sectors.

A slide in technology stocks left the S&P 500 slightly lower on Wall Street, even as the Dow Jones Industrial Average marked another all-time high. The S&P 500 slipped 0.1% to 4,793.54, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite fell 1.3% to 15,622.72 after a day of choppy trading. The Dow rose 0.6% to 36,799.65, thanks partly to solid gains by Caterpillar and JPMorgan Chase, which rose 5.4% and 3.8%, respectively. The Russell 2000 index fell 0.2%, to 2,268.87. Banks were among the biggest gainers as bond yields rose, pushing the yield on the 10-year Treasury to 1.65% from 1.63% late Monday. The yield was at 1.51% on Friday. When investors sell bonds their prices fall and their yields rise. More than 65% of the stocks in the S&P 500 rose. Still, the slump in technology stocks, which are the most heavily weighted sector in the benchmark index, left the S&P 500 in the red. Microsoft fell 1.7%, Apple slid 1.3% and chipmaker Nvidia dropped 2.8%.

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