SINGAPORE — Shares in the Asia-Pacific were mostly higher on Thursday as investors continued to monitor recession concerns.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 0.63%, and the Hang Seng Tech index gained around 1%.
Mainland Chinese markets struggled for direction but last traded higher. The Shanghai Composite was up 0.33%, and the Shenzhen Component was 0.253% higher.
The Nikkei 225 in Japan was almost flat, and the Topix was upslightly.
South Korea’s Kospi gave up its gains to fall 0.29%, and the Kosdaq declined 1.16%.
In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 was 0.34% higher.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan down fractionally.
In economic data, Singapore is set to release its inflation numbers on Thursday.
After a bounce on Tuesday, U.S. stocks traded lower overnight.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 47.12 points, or 0.15%, to 30,483.13. The S&P 500 slipped 0.13% to 3,759.89. The Nasdaq Composite was down 0.15% at 11,053.08.
Fed Chair Jerome Powell on Wednesday told Congress that the central bank is “strongly committed to bringing inflation back down.” Inflation has hit 40-year highs in the U.S.
“It’s not our intended outcome at all, but [a recession is] certainly a possibility, and frankly the events of the last few months around the world have made it more difficult for us to achieve what we want, which is 2% inflation and still a strong labor market,” Powell said, nonetheless adding that he believes the economy is strong for now.
“Recession or hard landing fears have taken a firmer hold on most markets in the past 24 hours,” Ray Attrill, head of FX strategy at National Australia Bank, wrote in a note.
He said no particular events drove the market moves on Wednesday, and commentators largely pointed to “deepening recession fears.”
Oil falls around 2%
Oil futures declined in Asia trade. Brent crude futures, the international benchmark, fell 2.3% to $109.17 per barrel. U.S. crude futures fell 2.64% to $103.39 per barrel.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 104.22.
The Japanese yen traded at 135.23 per dollar. It weakened to 136 against the greenback earlier this week. The Australian dollar was at $0.6895 after falling from above $0.702 last week.