Asian Shares Go South As Oil Breaches $105 A Barrel
Shares were mostly lower in Asia on Friday, Mar. 18, 2022, after Wall Street extended a rally into a third day and oil prices pushed higher, surpassing $105 per barrel, Elaine Kurtenbach reported for the Associated Press (AP). Tokyo and Sydney advanced while Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Seoul declined.
Photo Insert: The war, and plans for President Joe Biden to speak with Chinese President Xi Jinping later Friday were among the uncertainties overhanging markets.
The war, and plans for President Joe Biden to speak with Chinese President Xi Jinping later Friday were among the uncertainties overhanging markets. The White House said the conversation will center on “managing the competition between our two countries as well as Russia’s war against Ukraine and other issues of mutual concern.”
Wrapping up a two-day meeting, the Bank of Japan opted to keep its monetary policy unchanged, with its benchmark interest rate at minus 0.1%. Japan’s central bank has been keeping interest rates ultra-low and pumping tens of billions of dollars into the world’s third-largest economy for years, trying to spur faster growth.
Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index rose 0.1% to 26,667.23 and the S&P/ASX 200 in Sydney gained 0.3%, to 7,275.30. But Hong Kong’s Hang Seng sank 2.6% to 20,952.53 after barreling higher for two days after Chinese leaders promised to provide more support for the economy and markets, suggesting Beijing might temper its crackdowns on technology and real estate companies.
The Shanghai Composite index slipped 0.3% to 3,205.90. On Wall Street, the S&P 500 climbed 1.2% on Thursday, closing at 4,411.67, after surging more than 2% in each of the prior two days for its best back-to-back performance in nearly two years.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 1.2% to 34,480.76. The Nasdaq rose 1.3% to 13,614.78. The tech-heavy index is on pace for its biggest weekly gain in more than a year. Smaller company stocks outpaced the broader market. The Russell 2000 index surged 1.7% to 2,065.02.
The market’s latest gains come after the Federal Reserve raised its key interest rate Wednesday for the first time since 2018, something Wall Street had been expecting for months.
A barrel of U.S. crude oil gained $2.58 to $105.56 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It jumped 8.4% on Thursday to settle at $102.98. Brent crude, the international standard, added $2.42 to $109.06 per barrel in London. It leaped 8.8% to settle at $106.64 per barrel.
Prices have been careening on doubts over both supplies of and demand for oil. After briefly topping $130 early last week, a barrel of U.S. crude fell to nearly $94 a barrel on Wednesday.