Stocks in Asia were broadly lower on the final trading day of the week after the U.S. Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged at its latest policy meeting.
The big mover to the downside was in Hong Kong, where the Hang Seng index fell 2.39 percent to close at 25,601.92.
The mainland China markets, which investors are watching closely as trade tensions between Washington and Beijing continue to weigh on sentiment, ended the trading week lower. The Shanghai composite shed 1.39 percent to close at around 2,598.87 and the Shenzhen composite declined by 0.434 percent to about 1,328.19.
The moves in China followed the country’s Consumer Price Index and Producer Price Index for the month of October coming in at 2.5 percent and 3.3 percent higher, respectively, compared to a year ago. Those numbers were in line with expectations from a Reuters poll.
One economist warned that relations between the U.S. and China could get more frosty now that the midterm elections stateside are over.
“The upshot is that there will be more noise and volatility on China,” TS Lombard’s chief U.S. economist, Steve Blitz, said in a note on Thursday, commenting on the post-election environment. Many Democrats, including Sen. Chuck Schumer, are “China hawks,” Blitz said.
“I wouldn’t bank on seeing anything solid on the back of that actually play through,” Kerry Craig, a global market strategist at J.P. Morgan Asset Management, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Friday. Still, he predicted the meeting between the two leaders would be “very cordial.”
In other Asian market news, Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 1.05 percent to close at 22,250.25 while the Topix index saw losses of 0.49 percent to end the trading week at 1,627.98.
South Korea’s Kospi slipped 0.31 percent to close at 2,086.09, with the moves coming after the country’s president, Moon Jae-in, fired his top economic policymakers and replaced them with people from within the government. According to Reuters, the move indicates Moon aims to reinforce his controversial economic policies, which economists have said were hurting growth.
In Australia, the ASX 200 slipped by 0.11 percent to close at 5,921.8, with the major sectors mixed. Energy stocks fell by 1.25 percent while the heavily weighted financial subindex recovered to see gains of 0.23 percent.
Overnight on Wall Street, the S&P 500 slipped 0.25 percent to close at 2,806.83 and the Nasdaq Composite saw declines of 0.5 percent to 7,530.88 by the closing bell. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, on the other hand, climbed 10.92 points to close at 26,192.22 — marking a four-session winning streak.
The moves came after the Fed kept interest rates unchanged, as was widely expected. The central bank said in a statement, however, that it expects “further gradual increases” in the overnight rate. The Fed also did not mention the volatility that has hit the market recently.
“This Fed meeting may be the catalyst (that) slows up the feel good factor that the markets have enjoyed over the last few sessions post the US midterm election results,” Rakuten Securities Australia said in a morning note.
“We’d seen a positive ‘risk on’ trading environment after the midterms (passed) largely in line with expectations, but with the Fed confirming that they are sticking with their well defined path we may see some of the investor concern returning to markets and some further downside for the stock indices over the next few sessions,” the note said.
The Fed has hiked rates three times this year and is forecast to raise one more time before year-end.