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Asian stocks after Wall St pullback on Fed inflation stance


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BEIJING (AP) — Asian stocks were mixed Tuesday after Wall Street fell following last week’s Federal Reserve pledge to fight inflation by keeping interest rates elevated.

Shanghai and Hong Kong fell while Tokyo and South Korea advanced. Oil prices retreated.

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Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index lost 0.7% on Monday, adding to last week’s losses.

Stocks tumbled after Fed chair Jerome Powell indicated Friday the U.S. central bank will stick to a strategy of rate hikes to cool inflation that is at multi-decade highs. That appeared to quiet speculation the Fed might ease off due to signs economic activity is cooling.

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“Markets are still digesting Jay Powell’s hard-hitting message on inflation” while the European Central Bank also is giving “more hawkish” signals, said Venkateswaran Lavanya of Mizuho Bank in a report.

The Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.5% to 3,225.10 and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong tumbled 0.9% to 19,851.86.

The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo gained 1.2% to 28,217.36 after the official unemployment rate for July held steady and the labor participation rate, or the share of the working-age population that is in jobs, stayed at a record high.

The Kospi in Seoul added 1% to 2,450.71 and Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 gained 0.7% to 7,013.40.

India’s Sensex opened up 1.1% at 58,609.22. New Zealand and Southeast Asian markets also advanced.

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On Wall Street, the S&P 500 fell to 4,030.61. On Friday, the benchmark index lost 3.4% in its biggest one-day drop in two months.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.6% to 32,098.99. The Nasdaq composite tumbled 1% to 12,017.67.

Selling was widespread. Tech and health care stocks were the biggest decliners. Energy and utilities stocks rose.

Investors worry rate hikes by the Fed and by central banks in Europe and Asia might derail global economic growth.

Fed officials point to a strong U.S. job market as evidence the biggest global economy can tolerate higher borrowing costs. Some acknowledge a recession is possible but say that might be necessary to extinguish surging inflation.

The Fed has raised interest rates four times this year. The latest two were by 0.75 percentage points, three times its usual margin.

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Some investors had hoped that the Fed would ease up if inflation subsides. That sentiment led to a rally for stocks in July and early August.

Investors expect another large hike at the Fed’s September meeting, though the likelihood of such a big increase is smaller following weaker-than-forecast July retail sales.

The Fed’s preferred gauge of inflation decelerated last month, while other data shows consumer spending slowed. Wall Street will get several more updates on the economy this week.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude lost 39 cents to $96.62 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract soared $3.95 on Monday to $97.01. Brent crude, the price basis for international trading, shed 66 cents to $102.27 per barrel in London. It jumped $4.10 the previous session to $105.09.

The dollar declined to 138.49 yen from Monday’s 138.83 yen. The euro rose to 99.99 cents from 99.92 cents.

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