Shares in Asia were mostly lower on Monday, with Tokyo the only major regional market to advance, after Wall Street wheezed to more losses with its worst week in six months.
U.S. futures and oil prices edged higher.
Troubled property developer China Evergrande sank 17.3% after announcing it was unable to raise further debt due to an investigation into one of its affiliates, a predicament that might imperil plans for restructuring its more than $300 billion in debt.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 1.5% to 17,794.49, while the Shanghai Composite index declined 0.5% to 3,116.17.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 was up 0.9% at 32,689.87.
In Seoul, the Kospi lost 0.5% to 2,496.65, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 shed 0.1% to 7,064.30.
On Friday, the S&P 500 slipped 0.2% to 4,320.06 while the Dow Jones Industrial Average was off 0.3% at 33,963.84. The Nasdaq composite dipped 0.1% to 13,211.81. The retreat has deepened with Wall Street’s growing understanding that interest rates likely won’t come down much anytime soon.
Pressure has built on Wall Street as yields in the bond market climbed to their highest levels in more than a decade. They’d been rising for months and accelerated this week after the Federal Reserve indicated it’s unlikely to cut its main interest rate by as much in 2024 as investors had hoped. The federal funds rate is at its highest level since 2001, which grinds down on investment prices as it undercuts high inflation.
High rates drag down inflation by intentionally slowing the economy and denting prices for investments. They also are slow to take full effect and can cause damage in unexpected, far-ranging corners of the economy. Earlier this year, high rates helped lead to three high-profile collapses of U.S. banks.
Adding to unease, the U.S. federal government is heading toward a shutdown at the month’s end that would disrupt many services, squeeze workers and roil politics. It comes as Republicans in the House, fueled by hard-right demands for deep cuts, force a confrontation with Democrats over federal spending.
On top of that, American auto workers expanded their strike against major carmakers late last week, walking out of 38 General Motors and Stellantis parts-distribution centers in 20 states. In announcing the strike’s expansion Friday, United Auto Workers President Shawn Fain said Ford was spared additional strikes because the company has met some of the union’s demands during negotiations over the past week.
Auto workers want improved pay and benefits, and a prolonged strike could put upward pressure on inflation if shortages send prices higher.
Yields eased a bit Friday, which helped the S&P 500 stabilize somewhat following its 1.6% drop a day before, which was its worst since March. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 4.44% from 4.50% late Thursday. It’s still near its highest level since 2007.
The two-year Treasury yield, which moves more closely with expectations for the Fed, dipped to 5.10% from 5.15%.
When bonds pay more in interest, investors are less willing to pay high prices for stocks, especially those seen as the most expensive or those that force investors to wait for big growth in the future.
Recently, that’s meant particular pain for big technology stocks. Nvidia trimmed its loss for the week to 5.2% after rising 1.4% Friday. The Nasdaq composite, which is full of tech and other high-growth stocks, slumped 3.6% for its worst week since March.
A couple tech-oriented companies got better news Friday after U.K. regulators gave a preliminary approval to Microsoft’s restructured $69 billion deal to buy video game maker Activision Blizzard. It would be one of the largest tech deals in history, and shares of Activision Blizzard rose 1.7%.
Microsoft fell 0.8%.
In other trading Monday, U.S. benchmark crude oil climbed 29 cents to $90.32 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It added 40 cents on Friday.
Brent crude, the pricing basis for international trading, was up 29 cents at $92.25 per barrel.
The U.S. dollar rose to 148.37 Japanese yen from 148.28 yen. The euro rose to $1.06 from $1.0654.