BEIJING (AP) — Asian stock markets fell for a second day Thursday after declines in prices of oil and other commodities pulled Wall Street lower.
KEEPING SCORE: The Shanghai Composite Index lost 1.0 percent to 2,978.93 points and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 1.1 percent to 20,383.63. Australia’s S&P ASX 200 tumbled 1.0 percent to 5,151.30 and Seoul’s Kospi shed 0.3 percent to 1,989.80. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 edged 0.1 percent lower to 16,992.27. Benchmarks in Taiwan, Singapore and Jakarta also declined while New Zealand advanced.
U.S. INTEREST RATES: Traders reconsidered risk levels after a member of the Federal Reserve’s rate-setting team was quoted as saying it should consider raising interest rates at its next meeting. James Bullard, president of the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank, pointed to a broadly unchanged economic outlook and said a case could be made for action next month if the next round of jobs data exceeds official targets.
ANALYST’S TAKE: “Clear messaging from U.S. Federal Reserve board members that U.S. interest rates will rise faster than current market expectations has forced the U.S. dollar higher. Shares fell in a re-pricing of interest rate risk,” Michael McCarthy of CMC Markets said in a report. “Gold slumped and industrial commodities tanked after a higher than expected weekly build in oil stocks,” said McCarthy.
OIL: Overnight, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported that crude stockpiles rose 9.4 million barrels last week in further confirmation of substantial supplies. That helped to push benchmark U.S. crude below $40.
WALL STREET: Falling commodity prices pulled U.S. stocks lower, nudging the Standard & Poor’s 500 index into the red for the year. Energy and mining companies led the decline, while consumer staples and utilities stocks bucked the broader downward trend. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 79.98 points, or 0.5 percent, to 17,502.59. The S&P 500 lost 13.09 points, or 0.6 percent, to 2,036.71. The Nasdaq composite dropped 52.80 points, or 1.1 percent, to 4,768.86.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude shed 5 cents to $39.74 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract plunged $1.66 on Wednesday to close below $40 at $39.79. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 14 cents to $40.61 in London. It lost $1.32 in the previous session to $40.47.
CURRENCY: The dollar gained to 112.74 yen from Wednesday’s 112.44. The euro edged down to $1.1175 from $1.1181.
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