US futures point to a prolonged slump on Wall Street this week

Wall Street futures fell ahead of new jobs and wholesale prices data on Wednesday, with the Federal Reserve anticipating its next move in its fight to cool inflation.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrials fell 0.4% and the S&P 500 fell 0.7% just over an hour before the opening bell.

Stronger-than-expected economic data this week has dragged US markets lower on expectations that the Federal Reserve will be forced to remain aggressive on interest rates at its last policy meeting in 2022.

For the week, the Dow is down 2.4%, the S&P is down 3.2% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite is down almost 4%.

The US is due to release weekly unemployment data on Thursday and wholesale prices on Friday. The reports don’t usually move markets, but are getting increased attention as they are among the last data dumps before the Fed meets next week.

The US releases critical consumer price data on Tuesday, the same day the Fed opens its two-day meeting.

Most economists expect the Fed to hike rates by half a percentage point. It has raised interest rates six times since March, bringing it to a range of 3.75% to 4%, its highest level in 15 years. Wall Street expects interest rates to reach a peak range of 5% to 5.25% by mid-2023.

Wall Street and the Fed are hungry for any trend that suggests inflation is slowing. The Fed’s aggressive rate hikes could plunge the economy into recession.

Global equities also slid on Wednesday, with Hong Kong’s benchmark slipping more than 3%, Beijing announced Reducing its “Zero-COVID” guidelines.

In Asian trading, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell 3.2% to 18,814.82. The Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.4% to 3,199.62.

The announcement by China’s National Health Commission has rolled back rules on isolating people with COVID-19 and dropped virus testing requirements for some public places.

Experts say it could take until at least mid-2023 controls that disrupt travel, Trade and industry may be lifted entirely, but global markets have scrambled on speculation about major changes that could help return the world’s second-largest economy to a post-pandemic “normal”.

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index slipped 0.7% to 27,686.40 and Seoul’s Kospi slipped 0.4% to 2,382.81. The Shanghai Composite shed 0.4% to 3,199.62, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.9% to 7,229.40.

Stocks also fell in Mumbai and Bangkok.

China reported it Imports and exports fell in November as global demand weakened and antivirus controls burdened the second largest economy.

In Europe, the German DAX and the CAC 40 in Paris each lost 0.6% at midday. The UK FTSE 100 slipped slightly by 0.1%.

U.S. benchmark crude was unchanged at $74.25 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Brent crude, the international price standard, fell 10 cents to $79.25 a barrel.

The dollar rose to 137.38 Japanese yen from 136.94 yen. The euro rose to $1.0521 from $1.0468.

Small company stocks also fell, dragging the Russell 2000 Index down 1.5%. Major indices are on course for a weekly loss after posting two straight weeks of gains.

——

Kurtenbach reported from Bangkok; Ott reported from Washington.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed without permission.

https://www.local10.com/business/2022/12/07/asia-stocks-lower-as-china-scales-back-many-covid-curbs/ US futures point to a prolonged slump on Wall Street this week

Sarah Y. Kim

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