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Asian shares fall after Wall St. ends with weekly losses


Shares in most Asian markets are lower after Wall Street benchmarks ended last week lower

Shares in most Asian markets fell on Monday after Wall Street benchmarks ended last week lower.

Stocks fell in Tokyo, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Seoul but rose marginally in Sydney.

Japan reported that its wholesale prices were near a 13-year high in August, raising concerns over inflation as the country prepares for a leadership change.

Prices have risen in the world’s three largest economies and elsewhere, as supply chain troubles, shipping bottlenecks and other disruptions caused by the pandemic hinder a return to normal growth.

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 fell 0.3% to 30,287.09 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 2.4% to 25,585.03. In Seoul, the Kospi closed 0.5% lower at 3,110.61, while the S&P/ASX 200 closed 0.2% higher at 7,413.70. The Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.1% to 3,697.94.

Shares declined in Taiwan and Southeast Asia.

“Cautious sentiments largely continued amid rising inflationary pressures coupled with a fall in US markets last week,” IG’s Jun Rong Yep said in a commentary.

Price pressures add to the possibility that the Federal Reserve and other central banks may soon push interest rates above the ultra-low levels they have been put in place to help offset the worst effects of the pandemic.

On Friday, shares pulled back and the S&P 500 lost 0.8% in its fifth straight decline, down 1.7% for the week.

The stock has traded in a narrow range for several weeks as many investors wait to get a more complete understanding of where the economy is headed and how the pandemic is affecting businesses.

The S&P 500 fell 34.70 points to end at 4,458.58. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.8% to end at 34,607.72. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite fell 0.9% to 15,115.49.

The Russell 2000 Index of Small Companies rose 1% to 2,227.55.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note was steady at 1.33%.

US inflation at the wholesale level climbed 8.3% last month from August 2020, the biggest annual gain since the Labor Department began counting the 12-month numbers in 2010.

Federal Reserve policymakers have said they believe inflation this year will be temporary and is a result of the economy recovering from the pandemic. However, persistently high inflation could force the Fed to pull back its bond-buying program and lower interest rate policy sooner than anticipated.

The pandemic continues to be at the fore of investors’ minds, as hospitals fill up in the South and other parts of the country. President Joe Biden announced on Thursday that companies with more than 100 employees will be required to vaccinate or test their employees weekly, an announcement larger companies are willing to embrace.

Apple fell 3.3% after a federal judge ordered the iPhone maker to destroy part of the competing barricade guarding its close App Store, one of its biggest moneymakers.

In other trade, US benchmark crude oil rose 25 cents to $69.97 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Monday. On Friday, it jumped $1.58 to $69.72 a barrel.

Brent crude, the international pricing standard, climbed 18 cents to $73.10 a barrel.

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