Asian stock markets drop sharply after US falls

Asian stock markets drop sharply after US falls

International News

Major Asian markets suffered sharp losses on Friday, following another day of steep falls on Wall Street. In a volatile week for global investors, Japan’s Nikkei 225 index slid 3.2% during early trading, while China’s Shanghai Composite tumbled 5%. Earlier, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by more than 1,000 points for the second time this week. Sell-offs around the world have been pinned partly on concerns over higher interest rates.Elsewhere in Asia on Friday, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng pulled back 3.8%, while South Korea’s Kospi index traded down 1.9% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 fell 1.2%. Those losses came as little surprise, with moves in major US markets providing the cue for global investors.On Thursday, Dow Jones ended 4.2% lower at 23,860, the S&P 500 closed down 3.8%, while the Nasdaq sank 3.9%. European exchanges also headed south on Thursday. “The return of volatility after two relatively calm days supports the idea there are further losses to come in the days and weeks ahead,” said CMC Markets analyst Michael McCarthy. Investors have begun to worry that inflation might rise more quickly than expected, leading policymakers to raise rates, prompting a pull-back from stocks. On Thursday, the Bank of England seemed to offer support for that view. The bank left interest rates at 0.5% at its meeting, but said a strengthening economy meant interest rates were likely to rise sooner than the markets were expecting. Also worrying investors was a government budget proposal announced by US lawmakers, which raises spending caps and could fan inflation. Bond yields in the US have also risen in recent weeks, typically a signal of higher rates. Higher interest rates push up borrowing costs for companies and individuals, which can hurt corporate profits and curb economic activity. At the same time, higher interest rates can make investment alternatives to stocks, such as bonds, more attractive.