Asian markets mixed as attention turns to US jobs

Asian markets drop on Omicron spike, Biden spending bill blow

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Hong Kong: Asian stock markets fell on Monday amid concerns about the surge in the number of people infected with the new crown virus worldwide and the future of his massive social spending bill after US President Joe Biden lost a key vote of the moderate Democrats.

Analysts said that as traders began to gradually reduce their trading volume before the holiday, the market was more susceptible to volatility, but as central banks began to cut huge financial support to fight inflation, market sentiment became increasingly depressed.

At the same time, the economy is taking a hit as the rapidly spreading Omicron coronavirus variant forces the government to re-implement containment measures while consumers are staying at home.

“Omicron remains a concern and cases are on the rise,” said Robert Schein of Blanke Schein Wealth Management. “Investors should be prepared for Covid to continue to be a main factor in market performance heading into 2022.”

“After the bull run we’ve seen over the past 21 months, investors aren’t as used to prolonged periods of volatility.”

Investors got another negative lead from Wall Street where all three main indexes ended sharply lower on Friday after the Federal Reserve said it would speed up the taper of its bond-buying programme and indicated three interest rate hikes before the end of 2022.

While the announcement was initially welcomed as clearing up some policy uncertainty, it signalled the beginning of the end of the era of cheap cash that has helped propel global markets to record or multi-year highs for much of the past two years.

Tokyo, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Seoul, Singapore, Sydney, Taipei, Manila and Jakarta all fell, but Wellington rose slightly.

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