U.S. stocks, South Korea GDP, bitcoin, oil prices

SINGAPORE — Japan and Hong Kong stocks dropped as much as 2% as Asia-Pacific markets tumbled on Tuesday after a volatile session overnight on Wall Street.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell nearly 2% as auto and tech stocks were largely down, and the Topix fell 1.83%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index lost 2% before recovering slightly to decline 1.42%.

The ASX 200 pared some losses after falling nearly 3% as banks, miners and oil stocks all tumbled across the board. Bank stocks such as ANZ lost nearly 4%, while Commonwealth Bank of Australia and National Australia Bank fell around 3%. Oil stocks dived as Santos fell 5.17%, Beach Energy dived 7.6% and Woodwide Petroleum fell 4.74%.

Inflation in Australia rose 1.3% in the fourth quarter, and 3.5% for the year, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said. Prices increased at its fastest annual pace since 2014, Reuters reported.

In South Korea, the Kospi also declined around 2.53%.

Mainland Chinese stocks were lower as well. The Shanghai Composite lost nearly 1%, and the Shenzhen Component was down 1.17%%.

South Korea’s economy grew 1.1% in the fourth quarter of 2021 compared to the previous quarter, the Bank of Korea said in a press release on Tuesday. For the full year, the country’s GDP expanded by 4% in 2021, the fastest in 11 years, according to Reuters.

Meanwhile, Singapore’s central bank tightened monetary policy on Tuesday in response to rising prices as global demand recovers and supply-side disruptions persist.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore uses the exchange rate to manage policy and said it would raise the rate of appreciation of its policy band slightly.

The Singapore dollar strengthened against the U.S. dollar to trade at 1.3436, while the Straits Times Index was down 1.1%.

On the earnings front, Hyundai Motors is slated to report fourth-quarter results.

U.S. volatility

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The Dow rallied after being down 1,115 points at one point, closing up 99.13 points, or 0.3%, at 34,364.50, gaining for the first day in seven. The S&P 500 closed in the green after briefly hitting correction territory earlier in the session, falling more than 10% from its Jan. 3 record close. It finished 0.3% higher at 4,410.13. 

The Nasdaq Composite Index turned positive after being down as much as 4.9% earlier in the session, gaining 0.6% at 13,855.13.

“The recent sell-off in stocks reflects concern about the Fed tightening at a time when the economic momentum is slowing. However after eight straight days of selling and 10% drop year to date, more attractive valuations especially in technology stocks attracted bargain hunters,” Kathy Lien of 60 Second Investor wrote in a Tuesday note.

Oil prices also fell around 2% overnight on those expectations of Fed tightening. The Federal Open Market Committee is due to meet on Tuesday and Wednesday to decide on the next steps for U.S. monetary policy.

U.S. crude edged up 0.56% to $83.78 per barrel, and Brent futures rose 0.74% to $86.91.


Bitcoin returned to positive territory after crashing to a new low on Monday. On Monday, bitcoin fell to $32,982.11, its lowest point since July, according to Coin Metrics. But the largest cryptocurrency by market cap was up 5.6% in afternoon trading around $37,183.25, as broader equities reversed course and ended the day higher. It last traded at $36,407 during Asia hours.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 95.97, rising sharply from levels around 95.6.

The Japanese yen traded at 113.76 per dollar, strengthening slightly from around the 114 level previously. The Australian dollar was at $0.714, dropping from around $0.717.

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