Nikkei 225 dropped 0.5% to 28,902.90, Kospi shed 0.6% to 3,229.34, Hang Seng shed 0.1% to 28,945.85 and the Shanghai Composite fell 0.1% at 3,580.58
Asian shares mostly slipped Friday, dragged lower by a decline in technology stocks on Wall Street.
Benchmarks dropped in Japan, South Korea and China but gained in Australia.
Traders are awaiting the U.S. government’s latest monthly jobs report, expected later Friday. Unemployment data announced Thursday was encouraging.
But while an improved jobs market suggests the economy is gaining momentum after the pandemic, investors are keeping a close eye on signs of inflation, which especially hurts the tech sector. The benchmark S&P 500 index declined 0.4% on Thursday and is on track for a 0.3% weekly loss.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 dropped 0.5% to 28,902.90. South Korea’s Kospi shed 0.6% to 3,229.34, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 inched up 0.1% to 7,268.20. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng shed 0.1% to 28,945.85 and the Shanghai Composite fell 0.1% at 3,580.58.
Asian markets will likely be in a holding pattern on Friday, Prakash Sakpal and Nicholas Mapa, senior economists at ING, said in a report. More importantly, investors will await the US non-farm payrolls report out later tonight.
On Thursday, technology companies, whose pricey valuations make them more sensitive to inflation fears, were the biggest weight on the market.
The S&P 500 lost 15.27 points to 4,192.85. The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 0.1% to 34,577.04. The tech-heavy Nasdaq declined 1% to 13,614.51. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies declined 0.8% to 2,279.25.
Microsoft dropped 0.6% and Apple shed 1.2%.
Retailers, hotel operators and a variety of other companies that rely on direct consumer spending also posted some of the biggest declines, as did communications companies. Etsy shed 5.4%, Tesla slipped 5.3%, Wynn Resorts declined 4.1% and Facebook shed 0.9%. Banks and health care companies rose.
The jobs report Friday could provide more clarity on the economic recovery and the potential for higher inflation. Economists are projecting that it will show employers added 650,000 jobs in May.
Rising inflation is expected as the economy recovers from the pandemic’s impact, but the key question for many on Wall Street is whether it will be temporary or more permanent.
The main concern in the markets, rightfully so, is inflation, said Cliff Hodge, chief investment officer for Cornerstone Wealth. Data points are beginning to confirm the view that inflation is likely to be more sticky.
The concern is that the global recovery could be hampered if governments and central banks have to withdraw stimulus to combat rising prices.