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Asian stock markets fall amid inflation and oil price concerns

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BEIJING (AP) Asian stock markets fell on Thursday after Federal Reserve officials indicated they were prepared to hike interest rates earlier than expected if needed to calm inflation.

Market benchmarks in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Seoul and Sydney fell. Tokyo has moved forward.

Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 gained 0.2% before markets closed for a vacation in the United States. They reopen Friday for a shortened trading session.

Fed officials at their October policy meeting said they would not hesitate to respond to inflation, according to notes released Wednesday. They anticipated the possibility of raising rates sooner than participants currently anticipate. “

This has fueled investor fears that the Fed and other central banks may feel pressure to withdraw the economic stimulus that has pushed up stock prices. Fed officials said earlier that they could hike rates at the end of next year.

Higher prices combined with stronger hiring in the United States suggests that the attitude at the next Fed meeting may be shamelessly more hawkish, Mizuho Bank’s Tan Boon Heng said in a report.

The Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.3% to 3,581.32 while the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo gained 0.7% to 29,500.57. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong lost 0.2% to 24,633.67.

Seoul’s Kospi was down 0.5% to 2,979.39 and Sydney’s S & P-ASX 200 was down less than 0.1% to 7,379.30. New Zealand and Jakarta advanced while Singapore declined.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 rose to 4,701.46. Gains in technology, real estate and energy stocks offset falls by banks and materials companies.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped less than 0.1% to 35,804.38. The Nasdaq composite gained 0.4% to 15,845.23.

Fed notes showed officials still believe this year’s spike in inflation is likely to be temporary, but recognized prices have risen more than expected.

The notes covered the October meeting in which members of the Fed’s board of directors voted to take the first steps to cancel easy credit and other steps to support an economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

A wide range of industries have been affected by inflationary pressures and supply disruptions in raw materials and components. Forecasters fear consumers will cut spending if retail prices continue to rise.

Consumer spending rose 1.3% in October, just over double the increase the month before, according to the Commerce Department.

The Labor Department reported that the number of Americans claiming unemployment benefits fell last week to its lowest level in more than half a century.

In energy markets, benchmark US crude rose 10 cents to $ 78.49 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to set the price of international oils, gained 14 cents to $ 81.19 a barrel in London.

The dollar fell to 115.37 yen from 115.48 yen. The euro rose to $ 1.1219 from $ 1.199.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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