TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares were mostly lower on Wednesday, tracking a decline on Wall Street as investors weighed the latest quarterly earnings reports from big U.S. companies and data pointing to rising inflation.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 edged down 0.2% in early trading to 28,661.50. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 added 0.2% to 7,349.60. South Korea’s Kospi slipped 0.3% to 3,261.48. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dropped 0.6% to 27,784.74, while the Shanghai Composite dipped nearly 0.9% to 3,535.83.
“This backdrop of higher for longer U.S. inflation and a faster hiking Fed and strengthening USD is not a good recipe for emerging Asia,” said Robert Carnell, regional head of research Asia-Pacific at ING, referring to the U.S. currency.
Surging coronavirus cases in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand are another concern, he said. South Korea also is seeing cases jump. It released data showing an improvement in the jobless rate, but the numbers were collected before pandemic restrictions were tightened.
Some parts of Japan are also seeing an uptick in COVID-19 infections, fanning fears about the tens of thousands of athletes, dignitaries and other people from some 200 nations entering the country for the Tokyo Olympics. Tokyo is reporting hundreds of new cases daily. Some experts say that could jump to thousands in coming weeks, as the “bubble” conditions for the Olympians have been compromised, with staff and athletes testing positive for the virus. The Games open on July 23.