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Asian Stocks Follow Wall St Lower Amid Growth Concerns

Investor optimism about the rollout of coronavirus vaccines and central bank support for global economies is competing with anxiety about the impact of the delta variant and anti-disease measures on consumers and businesses.

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Asian stock markets followed Wall Street down on Wednesday after US inflation was lower than expected amid unease about the impact of the spread of the coronavirus''s delta variant.

Shanghai, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Sydney all retreated, giving up the previous day''s gains.

Wall Street''s benchmark S&P 500 index fell despite data showing consumer prices rose at their slowest rate in seven months in August.

Investor optimism about the rollout of coronavirus vaccines and central bank support for global economies is competing with anxiety about the impact of the delta variant and anti-disease measures on consumers and businesses.

“Initial optimism from a lower-than-expected print on the US CPI was quickly overridden by global growth concerns,” Yeap Jun Rong of IG said in a report.

The Shanghai Composite Index lost less than 0.1 per cent to 3,660.60 and the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo sank 0.5 per cent to 30,510.05. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong fell 0.7 per cent to 25,326.33.

The Kospi in Seoul gained 0.3 per cent to 3,159.27 while Sydney''s S&P-ASX 200 retreated 0.6 per cent to 7,394.80. New Zealand and Southeast Asian markets declined.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 lost 0.6 per cent to 4,443.05, giving up the previous day''s gain, after the government reported consumer prices in August rose 0.3 per cent over the previous month.

The benchmark''s 11 sectors all ended in the red. Banks, energy stocks and industrial and communication companies were among the biggest drags on the index.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.8 per cent to 34,577.57. The Nasdaq composite fell 0.5 per cent to 15,037.76.

Investors worry higher inflation might make the Federal Reserve and other central banks feel pressure to wind down easy credit and other stimulus that is helping to push up stock prices.

The Fed has said it believes a spike in US consumer inflation was temporary and interest rates will be kept low until a recovery is established.

In energy markets, benchmark US crude rose 43 cents to USD 70.89 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contracted added 1 cent on Tuesday to USD 70.46. Brent crude, the price basis for international oils, advanced 43 cents to USD 74.03 per barrel in London. It gained 9 cents the previous day to USD 73.60 a barrel.

The dollar was little-changed at 109.62 yen. The euro rose to USD 1.1808 from USD 1.1804.

(PTI)