Asian markets tumble as volatility sweeps globe ahead of Fed meeting

Asian markets flat in quiet holiday trade

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Hong Kong: Before Wall Street’s close was mixed and before the year-end holiday, Asian stock markets were mostly flat on Thursday and trading was cautious.

Concerns about the Omicron coronavirus variant have also put pressure on the market. The United States has reached the highest average level of new Covid cases in history, and the World Health Organization has warned that the “tsunami” of infection will push the health system to the brink of collapse.

But investors also insisted on data on reduced hospitalization risks and the reality of extremely low transaction volumes during Christmas and New Year.

“Despite global surges in Covid cases, the markets are reflecting the new reality that Covid is here to stay albeit more on our terms than its,” Kevin Philip, managing director at Bel Air Investment Advisors, said in an email.

Next year, “we are facing less of a Covid-influenced world, and a return toward normalcy”, he added.

Tokyo fell slightly in early trading, while Hong Kong rose slightly. Shanghai rose by about one percent.

Among the stocks that bucked the trend, Chinese artificial intelligence startup Shangtang Technology rose more than 10% when it debuted in Hong Kong. It was blacklisted by the United States for Xinjiang genocide a week ago.

“Ahead of year-end and New Year holidays, the number of market participants is low and trade will likely remain lethargic,” Mizuho Securities said.

“The markets continue to reassess the economic impact of the Omicron variant,” analysts at Schwab said in a note.

“With market activity much reduced for the holiday season, investors continue to tentatively price in a global recovery hitting a minor bump, and not a pothole,” said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA trading group.

“It’s a positive drift in a thinly traded market,” said Briefing.com analyst Patrick O’Hare. “There’s really no news driving the market today.”

A day ago, the London FTSE 100 Index outperformed other markets, rising 0.7%, hitting a two-year high, as British traders returned from a long holiday.

But the traditional post-Christmas bullish sentiment in Asia and the Eurozone weakened, and markets there closed lower.

The situation on Wall Street is also mixed, with the Nasdaq falling, despite the Dow Jones and S&P 500 both reaching new highs.

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