Asia-Pacific stocks mixed as tech shares drop after Biden renominates Powell as Fed chair
SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia-Pacific were mixed in Tuesday trade as investors watched for market reaction to U.S. President Joe Biden picking Jerome Powell for a second term as Federal Reserve chair.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index declined 1.01% while mainland Chinese stocks were mixed, with the Shanghai composite up 0.43% while the Shenzhen component slipped fractionally.
South Korea’s Kospi dipped 0.52%, with shares of biopharmaceutical firm Celltrion plunging around 5%.
The S&P/ASX 200 in Australia rose 0.83% as shares of major miner BHP rose more than 4%.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan declined 0.46%.
Markets in Japan are closed on Tuesday for a holiday.
Tech stocks fall
Technology stocks in Asia fell on Tuesday, tracking losses seen by their peers overnight stateside.
Hong Kong-listed shares of Chinese tech giant Tencent fell 2.71% while Alibaba slipped 3.06% and Meituan plunged 2.99%. The Hang Seng Tech index declined by about 1.3%.
South Korea’s LG Electronics shed 4.48% and Kakao dropped 2.33%.
Overnight stateside, the Nasdaq Composite dropped 1.26% to 15,854.76. The Dow Jones Industrial Average edged 17.27 points higher to 35,619.25 while the S&P 500 slipped 0.32% to 4,682.94.
Those moves came as investors on Wall Street reacted to Biden picking Powell for another term as Fed chair. Biden had been under pressure to name a more progressive Democrat, rather than keep Republican Powell in the role.
Powell has guided the U.S. central bank and the country’s economy through the pandemic recession, unleashing unprecedented monetary stimulus to keep financial markets afloat. His renomination now heads to the Senate for confirmation.
Currencies and oil
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 96.551, higher than the levels below 95.4 seen last week.
The Japanese yen traded at 115.11 per dollar, following a recent sharp weakening from below 114.5 against the greenback. The Australian dollar was at $0.7222, still off levels above $0.735 seen last week.
Oil prices were lower in the afternoon of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures down 0.45% to $79.34 per barrel. U.S. crude futures slipped 0.7% to $76.21 per barrel.
— CNBC’s Jeff Cox and Thomas Franck contributed to this report.