HONG KONG — Markets in Asia opened mixed on Friday after another bruising trading session in the United States, as fears deepened that the multi-year bull-market run on Wall Street may be running out of steam with interest rates rising.
The Japanese Nikkei and Shanghai Composite Index both opened slightly lower — by less than 1 percent — as did Australia. But Hong Kong and South Korea posted early gains. Taiwan, which was hardest-hit in Asia on Thursday, regained 0.5 percent.
The tepid open in Asia came after the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 546 points, or 2.1 percent, on Thursday. The Dow has tumbled 5 percent in the last two days on the prospect that U.S. interest rates will gradually rise in response to strong economic growth and inflation numbers.
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said late last week that interest rates were “a long way” from a neutral levels, remarks that came under criticism from President Trump, who called the Fed actions “a mistake,” “crazy” and “loco.”
There were signs Friday that global turmoil was ebbing. China’s tech sector bounced back early as their U.S. counterparts on the Nasdaq stabilized.
Tencent, Asia’s most valuable company, regained nearly 4 percent after days of huge losses. The company said late Thursday it would delay a public listing for its spin-off music service given the turmoil.
Markets were also boosted by reports that Trump and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, will meet at the Group of 20 summit next month in Argentina, offering a rare opening for dialogue at a time when high-level talks to resolve the trade dispute have all but broken down.
Trump’s top economic adviser Larry Kudlow told CNBC that “there’s some movement” toward a summit meeting in Buenos Aires but added that the discussion topics have not yet been set, suggesting significant hurdles remain. The two governments have been eyeing each other warily after progress made in previous rounds of talks fell apart.
After several quarters of blow-out earnings, companies have also been signaling weaker results, giving investors pause.
“We have two main headwinds: the trade war with China and rising interest rates,” Mike O’Rourke, chief market strategist at JonesTrading, told Reuters. “People fear that it will be harder to snap back if we’re seeing a cyclical top in earnings with those two headwinds, which are not going away.”