SINGAPORE — Stocks in the Asia-Pacific region were mixed on Thursday as investors continued to monitor recession concerns.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index briefly rose 2% and last time traded 1.75% higher, and the Hang Seng Tech Index gained 2.59%. Alibaba jumped 6.5% and Xpeng soared more than 10%.
Mainland Chinese markets struggled to find direction initially, but made gains in afternoon trading. The Shanghai Composite rose 1.05% and the Shenzhen Composite rose 1.22%.
Japan’s stock indices were slightly higher. The Nikkei 225 rose 0.17% and the Topix rose slightly.
South Korea’s Kospi gave back early gains to fall 0.75% and the Kosdaq fell 3.38%.
In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.42%.
MSCI’s broader index of Asia-Pacific stocks outside of Japan rose 0.5%.
In economic data, Singapore announced that core inflation came in at 3.6% in May compared to a year ago. That is slightly higher than the 3.5% expected by analysts polled by Reuters and the April figure of 3.3%.
After a bounce on Tuesday, US stocks traded lower overnight.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average decreased 47.12 points, or 0.15%, to 30,483.13. The S&P 500 fell 0.13% to 3,759.89. The Nasdaq Composite was down 0.15% at 11,053.08.
Clifford Bennett, chief economist at ACY Securities, said there have been very strong attempts to buy the bottom, but the market has only been able to trade sideways.
“Daily percentage changes sound very bullish when they happen, but this is a relativity game and on that basis rallies have remained modest, to say the least,” he said.
“Ultimately, the true fundamental outlook continues to deteriorate,” he added.
Fed Chairman Jerome Powell told Congress on Wednesday that the central bank is “strongly committed to reducing inflation.” Inflation has hit 40-year highs in the US.
“Not our intended result at all, but [a recession is] certainly is a possibility, and frankly, the events of the last few months around the world have made it more difficult for us to achieve what we want, which is 2% inflation and a still strong labor market,” Powell said, although He added that he believes the economy is strong for now.
“Recession or hard landing fears have taken hold in most markets over the past 24 hours,” Ray Attrill, head of currency strategy at National Australia Bank, wrote in a note.
Oil falls more than 1%
Oil futures trimmed losses but still fell in Asian trade. Brent crude futures, the international benchmark, fell 1.64% to $109.91 a barrel. US crude futures fell 1.88% to $104.19 a barrel.
The US Dollar Index, which tracks the dollar against a basket of its peers, was at 104.118.
The Japanese yen traded at 135.57 per dollar, strengthening slightly after weakening past 136 against the dollar earlier this week. The Australian dollar was at $0.6896 after falling from over $0.702 last week.