Asian stock markets are mostly lower on Wednesday, extending the losses in the previous session and following the broadly negative cues overnight from Wall Street, with investors pressing sales at several counters amid concerns about inflation and imminent monetary tightening by the Federal Reserve, and on reports about imposition of new sanctions by Western nations on Russia. Asian Markets closed mostly lower on Tuesday.
Citing Russian atrocities in Ukraine, the White House announced a ban on new investment in Russia, severe financial sanctions on Russia’s largest bank and sanctions on Russian elites and their family members, including President Vladimir Putin’s adult children.
The Fed released the minutes of its March meeting, which showed that the meeting featured a continued discussion about reducing the size of the central bank’s balance sheet. The Fed also announced its widely expected decision to raise interest by 25 basis points to a range of 0.25 to 0.50 percent, marking the first rate hike since December 2018.
The minutes showed many participants would have preferred a 50 basis point increase due to rate of inflation being well above the Fed’s objective and facing risks to the upside. However, a number of these participants felt a 25 basis point increase would be appropriate in light of the greater near-term uncertainty associated with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The Australian stock market is modestly lower on Wednesday, extending the losses in the previous session, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 below the 7,500 level, following the broadly negative cues overnight from Wall Street, with materials, energy and technology stocks continuing to drag the market amid concerns about inflation and imminent monetary tightening by the Federal Reserve.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 34.50 points or 0.46 percent to 7,455.60, after hitting a low of 7,439.30 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 38.10 points or 0.49 percent to 7,750.20….
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