Asian markets mixed after China warning on risks, stagflation – MarketWatch

Stocks were mixed in Asia on Monday after ending the week mostly lower on Wall Street, despite the Nasdaq’s first close above 16,000.

The Shanghai Composite index

gained 0.7%, while the Hang Seng

in Hong Kong lost 0.4%.

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225

edged 0.1% higher while South Korea’s Kospi

rose 1.2%. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200

gave up 0.5%. Stocks slipped in Indonesia

but gained in Singapore

and Taiwan

A resurgence of coronavirus outbreaks in the U.S., Europe and some other regions is weighing on investor sentiment. Comments by advisers to the Chinese central bank about risks of “stagflation,” meanwhile, have reinforced concerns about inflationary pressures.

Attention has turned to the People’s Bank of China as Beijing strives to curb risks from excessive borrowing by property developers but still keep the economy growing.

An adviser to the PBOC, Liu Shijin, told a conference over the weekend that China needed to avoid “quasi-stagflation,” Bloomberg reported.

Another economist, Jia Kang, echoed that sentiment, saying that if the pace of economic growth is slower than the inflation rate, “then how can we formulate a prescription for macro-control?”

Ting Lu of Nomura noted that controls on property lending, fresh waves of COVID-19 outbreaks and strict policies to fight them and surging prices are all adding to China’s policy challenges.

“A raft of meeting memos and policy reports show that Beijing is becoming increasingly concerned about the growth slump and has begun to take action to shift its policy stance in order to prevent growth from sliding further,” Ting said in a report.

On Friday, the S&P 500 index

gave up 0.1% to 4,697.96 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average

fell 0.8% to 35,601.98. The Nasdaq

added 0.4% to 16,057.44, for its sixth straight gain.

Despite an up-and-down week, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq notched weekly gains, while the Dow posted its second straight weekly loss.

Some 66% of companies in the S&P 500 fell, with financial and energy stocks accounting for a big share of the pullback. Those losses outweighed gains in technology and a mix of companies that rely on consumer spending.

In other trading, U.S. benchmark crude oil

picked up 3 cents to $75.97 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude
the basis for international pricing, lost 5 cents to $78.84 per barrel.

The U.S. dollar

rose to 114.15 Japanese yen from 113.96 yen on Friday.


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