Asian Stocks Down as Fed Reinforces Quicker Asset Tapering Message

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Asian Stocks Down as Fed Reinforces Quicker Asset Tapering Message
Credit: © Reuters.

By Gina Lee

Investing.com – Asia Pacific stocks were mostly down on Friday morning, with investors continuing to evaluate the risks from the new omicron COVID-19 variant. U.S. Treasury yields pared a climb over U.S. Federal Reserve comments suggesting it could quicken the pace of its asset tapering.

China’s Shanghai Composite edged up 0.11% by 9:23 PM ET (2:23 AM GMT) while the Shenzhen Component edged up 0.18%. The Caixin services purchasing managers’ index (PMI) , released earlier in the day, was 52.1 in November.

Hong Kong-listed developer Kaisa Group Holdings Ltd. (HK: 1638 ) also failed to win approval for its proposed debt swap.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index slid 1.27%.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 was down 0.21% and South Korea’s KOSPI inched down 0.10%.

In Australia, the ASX 200 inched down 0.10%.

The Fed laid out the case for faster asset tapering via officials including Fed Governor Randal Quarles, Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic, and San Francisco Fed President Mary Daly. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell holds a similar stance, with U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen saying she understands the “reasoning” behind the Fed’s plans.

Some investors remain cautious, even as some worries about omicron have receded over hopes that current vaccines will remain effective or be adjusted.

“The environment in markets is changing," Citigroup Private Bank chief investment strategist Steven Wieting told Bloomberg.

“Monetary policy, fiscal policy are all losing steam. It doesn’t mean a down market. But it’s not going to be like the rebound, the sharp recovery that we had for almost every asset in the past year.”

On the data front, 222,000 U.S. initial jobless claims were filed throughout the week. Investors now await the latest U.S. jobs report, including non-farm payrolls , due later in the day.

Meanwhile, Chinese shares listed in the U.S. recorded losses on Thursday, after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission announced final plans to implement a new law. The law mandates foreign companies to open their books or risk being kicked off the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq within three years.

Didi Global Inc. (NYSE: DIDI ) will begin preparations to delist from the New York Stock Exchange and list on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, the company said earlier in the day.

Meanwhile, shares in Grab Holdings Ltd., sank on their first day of trading on the NASDAQ board Thursday. The listing follows the company’s merger with Altimeter Growth Corp., approved on Tuesday, and the largest deal to date for a special-purpose acquisition company.

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