Asian stock markets followed Wall Street down on Wednesday after U.S. 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.
Hong Kong-traded shares in casino operators based in Macau, a gambling enclave and former Portuguese colony in southern China, plunged on reports of a possible crackdown on the industry.
Authorities plan a review of the industry before casino licenses are due to be renewed next year, the reports said.
Wynn Macau lost 28%, Sands China declined 30%, MGM China gave up 24% and local operator SJM Entertainment dropped 21%.
More broadly, 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 U.S. CPI was quickly overridden by global growth concerns,” Yeap Jun Rong of IG said in a report.
The Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.4% to 3,648.67 and the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo sank 0.5% to 30,511.71. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong tumbled 1.8% to 25,046.42.
The Kospi in Seoul gained 0.2% to 3,153.40 while Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 retreated 0.3% to 7,417.00. New Zealand and Southeast Asian markets declined.
On Wall Street, the S&P 500 lost 0.6% to 4,443.05, giving up the previous day’s gain, after the government reported consumer prices in August rose 0.3% 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% to 34,577.57. The Nasdaq composite fell 0.5% 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 U.S. consumer inflation was temporary and interest rates will be kept low until a recovery is established.
In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude rose 51 cents to $70.97 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contracted added 1 cent on Tuesday to $70.46. Brent crude, the price basis for international oils, advanced 50 cents to $74.10 per barrel in London. It gained 9 cents the previous day to $73.60 a barrel.
The dollar fell to 109.50 Japanese yen from 109.63 yen. The euro was unchanged at $1.1804.
(This news analysis has been sourced entirely from the news agency, Associated Press)