Asian shares fall as technology shares pull benchmarks lower

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FILE – A trader works on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange in New York, Thursday, May 19, 2022. This year’s sell-off for Wall Street means stocks no longer look to be in a dangerously overvalued bubble, as some critics had warned. Prices have retreated toward historical norms, when measured against corporate profits. Analysts have so far been maintaining their expectations for corporate profits going forward. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares were mostly lower on Tuesday as losses in technology-related shares weighed on global benchmarks.

Taiwan dropped 4% after reopening from a holiday in the first trading session since the U.S. imposed new limits on exports of semiconductors and chip-making equipment to China. TMSC, the world’s biggest chipmaker, plunged 7.8%.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 declined 2.5% in morning trading to 26,439.97. South Korea’s Kospi lost 2.2% to 2,184.87. Both markets also were reopening after holidays on Monday.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dropped 1.4% to 16,984.41.

The Shanghai Composite gained 0.4% to 2,986.11, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 edged 0.1% higher to 6,671.90.

“Japan and South Korean markets are catching up to previous global market losses, with their exposure to the tech sector spurring a greater extent of the sell-off as mirrored in Wall Street,” said Yeap Jun Rong, a market strategist at IG in Singapore.

In a bit of encouraging news, Japan reopened to generally unrestricted tourism on Tuesday after more than two years of COVID-19 restrictions. Pent-up travel spending could help lift the world’s third largest economy as it grapples with slowing global growth and inflation.

But technology stocks have taken a hit from the announcement of tighter export controls on semiconductors and chip manufacturing equipment. The restrictions aim to limit China’s ability to get advanced computing chips, develop and maintain supercomputers, and make advanced semiconductors.

In China, technology shares were hit by renewed selling after steep losses on Monday. Chip equipment maker Naura Technology sank 10% and Hwatsing Technology dropped 9.6%.

On Wall Street, Qualcomm Inc. lost 5.2% and Broadcom Inc. dropped 5%. Applied Materials shed 4.1% while Lam Research Corp. declined 6.4%.

The benchmark S&P 500 fell 0.7%, closing at 3,612.39 and extending its losing streak to a fourth day. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.3% to 29,202.88 and the Nasdaq composite fell 1% to 10,542.10. The Russell 2000 fell 0.6% to 1,691.92.

U.S. bond trading was closed.

Wall Street has been roiled by worries over stubbornly hot inflation and the Federal Reserve’s plan to tame high prices by raising interest rates. The goal is to slow economic growth and cool both borrowing and spending to get inflation under control, but the plan risks sending the economy into a recession.

Investors will potentially get a more detailed picture of the Fed’s thinking on Wednesday when the central bank releases minutes from its latest policy meeting. That’s when the Fed made another extra-big interest rate increase of three-quarters of a percentage point.

“Nobody’s arguing about whether inflation is falling, it’s simply the slope of the slide,” said David Kelly, chief global strategist at JPMorgan Funds. “The inflation battle is being won and the problem is the recession battle may be getting lost unnecessarily.”

Wall Street will also get important updates on inflation and more insight into how that is impacting retail sales. The closely watched report on consumer prices will be released on Thursday and a report on retail sales is due Friday.

The latest sales update could confirm that consumers are increasingly stretched financially, or at least pulling back on spending. That could send a signal to the Fed, Kelly said.

“I’m just hoping the Fed is watching these indicators,” he said. “It should tell them they’re much closer to both beating inflation and killing the economy than they think they are.”

This week brings the latest round of corporate earnings reports, which could provide a clearer picture of how high prices are impacting revenue and profits and what’s expected for the rest of the year and even into 2023.

In energy trading, benchmark U.S. crude fell 38 cents to $90.75 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. U.S. crude oil dropped 1.6% Monday. Brent crude, the international standard, lost 27 cents to $95.92 a barrel.

In currency trading, the U.S. dollar slipped to 145.73 Japanese yen from 145.75 yen. The euro cost 96.84 cents, down from 97.04 cents.

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Yuri Kageyama is on Twitter https://twitter.com/yurikageyama

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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