Asian Shares End Mixed Amid U.S. Recession Worries

Asian stocks recovered from early losses to end mixed on Thursday after minutes from the Fed’s March 21-22 meeting indicated that officials see the U.S. economy entering a “mild recession” by year’s end in the wake of the banking crisis.

The dollar held near a two-month low and Treasury yields were mixed as investors digested cooler-than-expected inflation data out of the U.S.

Gold ticked higher on dollar weakness, while oil prices were little changed after rallying sharply for two straight sessions.

Chinese shares ended modestly lower, with the Shanghai Composite Index slipping 0.3 percent to 3,318.36. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index eased 0.2 percent to settle at 20,344.48.

Shares of embattled Chinese developer Sunac China Holdings sank 53.5 percent in Hong Kong as the stock resumed trade following a suspension of more than a year.

Japanese shares rose modestly to extend gains for a fifth day running on optimism of a recovery in the domestic retail sector.

The Nikkei 225 Index recovered from an early slide to close 0.3 percent higher at 28,156.97, while the broader Topix finished marginally higher at 2,007.93.

Aeon rallied 2.7 percent after the retailer posted record revenue in the year through February. Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing rose 2.1 percent ahead of its earnings release due Thursday. Financials lost ground on U.S. recession worries.

Seoul stocks ended higher for a fifth straight session after choppy trading. The Kospi climbed 0.4 percent to 2,561.66, led by large-cap tech and bio companies. Metal stocks fell on global growth worries, with POSCO Holdings tumbling 3.7 percent and Korea Zinc losing 1.7 percent.

Australian markets declined to snap a two-day wining steak after data showed the country’s job market grew far more than expected in March, suggesting further monetary policy tightening by Reserve Bank at next months’ meeting.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index dropped 0.3 percent to 7,324.10, dragged down by mining and banking stocks. The broader All Ordinaries Index eased 0.2 percent to end at 7,520.70.

Across the Tasman, New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX-50 Index edged up 0.1 percent to 11,930.86.

U.S. stocks ended lower overnight after minutes from the Federal Reserve’s March 21-22 policy meeting showed that central bank officials are concerned about elevated inflation and the regional bank liquidity crisis.

U.S. inflation eased to 5 percent in March, the lowest in almost 2 years, but many economists said they still expect the Fed to raise rates by another quarter point early next month.

The Dow slipped 0.1 percent, the S&P 500 shed 0.4 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite lost 0.9 percent.

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