The Nasdaq falls, inflation in Japan, oil prices

SINGAPORE — Asia-Pacific markets fell on Friday, following declines on Wall Street overnight. Meanwhile, oil prices slipped overnight from their 2014 highs earlier in the week.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 2% in early trading, while the Topix fell 1.81%. Auto and technology stocks fell across the board. Toyota lost almost 4%, Mazda fell 4.8% and Mitsubishi fell more than 5%.

In technology stocks, Sony lost more than 4% and Softbank lost more than 2%.

Inflation data from Japan released on Friday showed core consumer prices rose 0.5% in December from a year earlier as fuel and raw material costs rose, according to Reuters. The increase was for a second straight month at the fastest pace in nearly two years, Reuters said.

Australia’s ASX 200 fell more than 1% as major miners and banks declined. In South Korea, the Kospi fell 0.7%.

Elsewhere, Singapore’s first SPAC, Vertex Technology Acquisition Corporation, debuted on Thursday afternoon, prompting a strong reaction from investors with the retail tranche of 600,000 units subscribed 36 times. The stock closed 1% higher than its offer price.

On Wall Street, stocks fell. The Nasdaq Composite ended the session down 1.3% at 14,154.02 after rising 2.1% earlier in the day. That put the index further into correction territory – more than 10% below its November high.

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 313.26 points to 34,715.39 on Thursday, closing below its 200-day moving average for the first time since December 2021. The S&P 500 fell 1.1% to 4,482 .73 and closing below 4,500 for the first time since October 2021.

Currencies and oil

Oil prices fell Thursday after hitting their highest level since 2014 on Wednesday as supply concerns eased.

“The crude oil rally took a break after US crude inventories edged higher,” ANZ Research analysts Brian Martin and Daniel Hynes wrote in a Friday note.

“Despite this, demand remains strong… The price pause was also driven by reports that the United States plans to accelerate the release of strategic reserves. However, this will be overshadowed by current supply constraints at the ‘global scale,’ they said.

On Friday morning during Asia opening hours, oil prices continued to decline. US crude fell around 1.61% to $84.17 a barrel.

In currencies, the US dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 95.770, topping previous levels above 95.6.

The Japanese yen was trading at 113.93 to the dollar, continuing to strengthen from levels above 114. The Australian dollar was at $0.7217, down slightly.

– CNBC’s Abigail Ng contributed to this report.


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Felix J. Dixon