Asian stocks mixed ahead of US GDP update, Europe rates call

BEIJING – Asian stock markets were mixed on Thursday ahead of an update on the US economy and a meeting of the European Central Bank that is expected to raise interest rates to a 13-year high.

Shanghai and Tokyo fell while Hong Kong and Seoul rose. Wall Street fell after tech companies reported disappointing quarterly results.

Forecasts expect US government data to show the economy grew in the three months to September after two quarters of contraction. Other indicators, including home sales, suggest activity is cooling after rate hikes to curb stubbornly high inflation.

The ECB, which manages the euro currency used by Germany, France and 17 other countries, is expected to hike interest rates by as much as 0.75 percentage points.

Traders fear aggressive rate hikes this year could push the global economy into recession.

The ECB will have to “turn a blind eye” to signs of slowing activity “while it struggles to bring inflation back under control,” StoneX’s Fawad Razaqzada said in a report.

The Shanghai Composite Index slipped 0.2% to 2,993.70 and Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 fell 0.3% to 27,345.24. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 1.3% to 15,515.92.

Seoul’s kospi rose 1.7% to 2,288.72 after the government reported that economic growth slowed to a yearly low of 0.3% quarter-on-quarter in the three months to September after a rise of 0.3% in the previous quarter 0.7% was recorded.

Sydney’s S&P ASX 200 was up 0.5% to 6,845.10.

India’s Sensex opened up 0.3% to 59,716.48. New Zealand and Southeast Asian markets rose.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 index fell 0.7% to 3,830.60, breaking three days of gains after Microsoft and parents of Google and Facebook reported weaker-than-expected earnings or revenue.

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The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite fell 2% to 10,970.99. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed little changed, up 2.37 points to 31,839.11.

Google parent Alphabet fell 9.6% after reporting disappointing third-quarter financial results as advertising sales slacked. Music-streaming service Spotify fell 13% after reporting a bigger loss than Wall Street had expected in the third quarter.

Microsoft slipped 7.7% after reporting disappointing growth for its cloud-computing company, while profits fell along with PC sales. Chipmaker Texas Instruments fell 2.6% after giving investors a disheartening forecast for the current quarter.

Facebook’s parent company Meta fell 10.8% in after-hours trading after the release of its third-quarter earnings. In regular trading, the stock fell 5.6%.

Visa rose 4.6% after reporting strong financial results and increasing its dividend. Norfolk Southern gained 2.9% after reporting higher profits due to an increase in shipping rates.

The 10-year Treasury yield, or the difference between the day’s market price and the payout at maturity, fell to 4.01% from 4.10% late Tuesday as investors switched money into bonds. The two-year yield fell to 4.42% from 4.48%.

Shrinking bond yields suggest investors believe the Federal Reserve could ease its rate-hike plans later this year.

On Thursday, investors will be on the lookout for signs of an economic slowdown. The government will release its first estimate of gross domestic product for the third quarter.

They hope that flagging home sales and consumer sentiment will embolden Fed officials to decide rate hikes are working and ease up.

The central bank is expected to hike interest rates by another three-quarters of a percentage point at its November meeting. However, according to CME Group, traders have become more confident that it will drop to 0.50 percentage point in December.

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In energy markets, US crude, the benchmark in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, lost 19 cents to $87.72 a barrel. Brent crude, the price basis for international oil trading, lost 18 cents in London to $93.61 a barrel.

The dollar fell to 145.77 yen from 146.26 yen on Wednesday. The euro fell from $1.0080 to $1.0056.