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Asia-Pacific markets experienced widespread declines as investors evaluated significant economic data from Japan and South Korea.
In South Korea, the unemployment rate for August was reported at 2%, marking its lowest level since June 1999. Conversely, in Japan, corporate confidence declined in September, affecting both manufacturers and non-manufacturers, according to the Reuters Tankan poll.
Confidence among large Japanese manufacturers fell to +4, down from +12 in August. The non-manufacturers index also saw a significant drop, decreasing by nine points to reach +23 in September.
Japan’s Nikkei 225, after enjoying a three-day winning streak, experienced a decline of 0.21% to close at 32,706.52. The Topix index registered a smaller loss of 0.05%, concluding the day at 2,378.64.
South Korea’s Kospi index edged down by 0.07%, ending at 2,534.7, while the Kosdaq recorded a more substantial decline of 1.71%, closing at 882.72. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 slid by 0.74% to reach a closing figure of 7,153.9.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index initially showed gains but ultimately reversed course, shedding 0.09% to finish at 18,009.22. Mainland Chinese stocks were also in the red, with the CSI 300 down by 0.64%, concluding at 3,736.65.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average experienced a decline on Wednesday as traders reacted to a core inflation report for August that exceeded expectations.
The Dow fell by 70.46 points or 0.20% to close at 34,575.53, marking its second consecutive day of losses. In contrast, the S&P 500 rose by 0.12% to finish at 4,467.44, and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.29%, closing at 13,813.59.
Within the 30-stock Dow, Boeing was the most significant decliner, with a drop of over 5.7%, while Caterpillar shares also saw a decline of 2%. Apple shares experienced a second consecutive day of losses, slipping by more than 1%.
Conversely, gains in the tech sector supported the S&P 500 and Nasdaq. Tesla shares rose by 1.4% after billionaire investor Ron Baron expressed confidence in the electric vehicle manufacturer. Amazon shares reached their highest level since August 2022, advancing by more than 2.5%.
The consumer price index for August revealed core inflation increases of 0.3% on a monthly basis and 4.3% year-on-year, surpassing estimates of 0.2% and 4.3%, respectively. Federal Reserve officials place more emphasis on the core number, as it provides a better indication of long-term inflation trends.
Oil prices initially reached a 10-month high on Wednesday but later retreated due to a surprise increase in U.S. crude inventories, countering expectations of a tight crude supply for the remainder of the year.
The international benchmark, Brent futures, declined by 13 cents to $91.93 a barrel. Earlier in the session, it had reached $92.84 a barrel, its highest level since November. Meanwhile, U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude fell by 25 cents to $88.59 a barrel, having previously touched $89.64 a barrel, also its highest since November.
Gold experienced a slight decrease on Wednesday, primarily due to a stronger dollar. Nevertheless, the growing anticipation that the Federal Reserve will keep interest rates unchanged at its upcoming policy meeting limited the decline in gold prices. Spot gold decreased by 0.2% to $1,908.65 per ounce, recovering somewhat from a 0.4% drop following the release of August’s U.S. consumer price index data. U.S. gold futures also fell by 0.2% to $1,931.30 per ounce.
The above analysis is only for the views of market researchers and is for reference only and is not regarded as a specific investment suggestion.