Asian stock markets experienced a decline on Friday following an increase in U.S. inflation, which raised concerns about the global economy's outlook.
Shanghai Composite Index and Hang Seng Drop, Kospi and S&P/ASX 200 Show Mixed Results
The Shanghai Composite Index declined by 1.4%, and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong fell by 0.9%. Meanwhile, the Kospi in Seoul saw a slight gain of less than 0.1%, and Sydney's S&P/ASX 200 sank by 0.1%. Taiwan's stocks, represented by the benchmark index TW:Y9999, rose while Singapore's SG:STI, Indonesia's ID:JAKIDX, and New Zealand's NZ:NZ50GR experienced declines. It's worth noting that Japanese markets were closed for a holiday.
Wall Street's S&P 500 Index Performs Modestly
On Thursday, Wall Street's benchmark S&P 500 index showed a minimal gain of less than 0.1% after government data revealed a 3.2% increase in consumer prices for July. While this figure surpassed the previous month's inflation rate, it still fell short of market expectations.
Hopes for Controlled Inflation and No Further Interest Rate Hikes
Traders are optimistic that the latest inflation data will convince the Federal Reserve that they have successfully managed inflation, which reached more than 9% last year. They believe that additional interest rate hikes are unnecessary.
Stephen Innes of SPI Asset Management commented on the situation, stating, "As benign as the inflation report was initially interpreted, investors quickly shifted concerns to factors that could disrupt the narrative, such as scorchingly high energy and food prices."
Wall Street Ends with Modest Gains
Wall Street's S&P 500 rose to 4,468.83, recording its second daily gain in the past eight days. The Dow Jones Industrial Average also saw a modest increase of 0.2% to reach 35,176.15, while the Nasdaq composite added 0.1% to close at 13,737.99.
U.S. Inflation Figures for July
July's U.S. inflation rate of 3.2% marked a slight uptick from the previous month's rate of 3%. However, it fell short of forecasts for 3.3%.
Investor Optimism Surrounding Inflation Trends
Investors are encouraged by the underlying trends in inflation, as they align with expectations. This has further boosted hopes that the Federal Reserve's efforts to combat inflation have been successful and that no additional rate hikes will be necessary. The market is hopeful that the Fed can achieve a "soft landing" scenario by cooling inflation without adversely affecting the economy and triggering a recession.
Fed's Rate-Hiking Cycle and Wall Street's Belief in Inflation Control
Critics are raising concerns about Wall Street's premature belief that inflation is now under control and that the Federal Reserve's rate-hiking cycle has come to an end. The Fed, on the other hand, has stated that its future decisions regarding additional interest rate increases will be heavily influenced by factors such as inflation, employment data, and other economic indicators.
According to Gargi Chaudhuri, the head of iShares Investment Strategy for the Americas, the recent report released on Thursday is likely to provide the Federal Reserve with a substantial reason to maintain interest rates at their current level during their upcoming meeting in September.
In addition to this report, there are several others scheduled to be released before the Fed's next meeting on September 20th. These reports will cover topics such as wholesale inflation and employment data, which the Federal Reserve will closely analyze when making their decision regarding interest rates.
On Thursday, the government also disclosed that there were slightly more individuals who applied for unemployment benefits last week than initial expectations. This information may help alleviate the Federal Reserve's concerns about hiring contributing to upward pressure on prices, as hiring has unexpectedly remained strong.
In the bond market, there was an increase in the yield on 10-year Treasury debt from 4.01% late Wednesday to 4.09%. Similarly, the two-year Treasury yield rose slightly from 4.80% to 4.81% late Wednesday, as it is more sensitive to expectations surrounding the Federal Reserve's actions.
Turning to energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude experienced a slight decline of 6 cents in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, bringing it to $82.76 per barrel. Previously, it fell by $1.58 to $82.82 on Thursday. Meanwhile, Brent crude, which serves as the basis for international oil trading, decreased by 5 cents to $86.35 per barrel in London. In the previous session, it dropped by $1.15 to settle at $86.40.
Lastly, the value of the dollar remained unchanged at 144.72 yen.
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