Toyota drags down Nikkei 225 after auto-maker halts production for 3 days
BANGKOK — Shares were lower in Asia on Friday after a late afternoon sell-off wiped out gains for stocks on Wall Street.
Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 JP:NIK fell 1.5% after Toyota Motor Corp. JP:7203 announced production cuts due to parts shortages.
The Hang Seng HK:HSI in Hong Kong gave up 0.7% while the Shanghai Composite index CN:SHCOMP shed 0.8%.
The S&P/ASX 200 AU:XJO in Sydney dropped 2.3% and South Korea’s Kospi KR:180721 slid 1.3%. Stocks rose in Indonesia ID:JAKIDX, but declined in Taiwan TW:Y9999. Singapore’s benchmark SG:STI was flat.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 1.79% from 1.83% late Thursday. Investors are bracing for higher interest rates and stocks are headed for weekly losses in what has so far been a losing month. Oil prices also fell, with the U.S. benchmark crude future down 2.3%.
Surging coronavirus cases have added to jitters over supply chain problems that are disrupting manufacturing.
Toyota, Japan’s top auto maker, said it will suspend production at 11 plants in Japan for three days, on top of reductions planned in February. Those cuts mean it will fall short of the 9 million vehicles planned for the fiscal year through March, despite healthy demand.
On Thursday, a late-afternoon sell-off wiped out gains for stocks on Wall Street, sending major indexes deeper into losing territory for the year.
The S&P 500 SPX lost 1.1% to 4,482.73, a three-month low, with nearly 85% of stocks in the index falling. It’s now down 6% for the year.
The Nasdaq composite index COMP fell 1.3% to 14,154.02, after rising as much as 2.1%. By Wednesday, the index’s recent losses had left it in what Wall Street considers a market correction, or 10% below its peak.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA sank 0.9% to 34,715.39.
The sharp about-face for the broader market was once again directed by technology stocks, which have been behind choppy trading throughout the week. The downturn follows a strong 2021, when the S&P 500 gained 26.9%.
The Labor Department provided a disappointing update, reporting that the number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits rose to its highest level in three months as the fast-spreading omicron variant continued to disrupt the job market.
The job market has had a rocky recovery from the virus pandemic though the unemployment rate fell last month to a pandemic low of 3.9%.
Investors are closely watching to see how employment data might affect the Federal Reserve approach to weaning the economy of its support by raising interest rates.
The Fed is now expected to raise rates earlier and more often than it had previously signaled to fight inflation that is threatening the economic recovery. Supply chain problems and higher raw materials costs have prompted businesses to raise prices on finished goods, leading consumers to eventually rein in spending.
The latest round of corporate earnings is also giving investors a clearer picture of where Americans are spending money and how inflation is impacting the economy.
In other trading, U.S. crude oil CLG22 lost $1.75 to $83.80 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It shed 25 cents to $85.80 on Thursday.
Brent crude oil BRNH22, the basis for pricing international oil, lost $1.69 to $86.89 per barrel.
The U.S. dollar USDJPY fell to 113.74 Japanese yen from 114.10 yen late Thursday.
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