Asia stocks down after Yellen reiterates rate rise coming

AP News
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Posted: Sep 24, 2015 11:31 PM
Asia stocks down after Yellen reiterates rate rise coming

TOKYO (AP) — Asian stock markets were mostly lower Friday after the U.S. Federal Reserve chief reiterated that an interest rate hike is likely this year.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan's Nikkei 225 lost 0.1 percent to 17,560.79 and South Korea's Kospi fell 0.6 percent to 1,936.39. Hong Kong's Hang Seng inched down 0.3 percent to 21,041.09. China's Shanghai Composite dropped 0.7 percent to 3,122.05 and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 shed 0.4 percent to 5,051.20. Stock benchmarks were also lower in Taiwan, Singapore and Indonesia.

THE FED: Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said in a speech after markets closed Thursday she expects the Fed to begin raising interest rates by the end of the year. She also suggested global economic weakness won't be significant enough to alter the central bank's plan to raise its key short-term rate from zero by December. Record low interest rates since the 2008 global financial crisis have been a boon for stock markets but as the U.S. economy recovers, abnormally loose financial conditions have to be tightened to prevent inflation from rising to economically damaging levels in the future.

THE QUOTE: "It's still too early to say that the lows in share markets have been seen. The volatility and consolidation we have seen in share markets since late August could be a sign of base building but it could also just be a pause before another dip to new lows," said Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy at AMP Capital in Sydney. "This is particularly so given that worries about global growth and the Fed remain."

WALL STREET: The Standard & Poor's 500 fell 6.52 points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,932.24 on Thursday. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 78.57 points, or 0.5 percent, to 16,201.32. The Nasdaq composite fell 18.27 points, or 0.4 percent, to 4,734.48.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude was up 4 cents at $44.95 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 43 cents to $44.91 in New York on Thursday. Brent crude, a benchmark for many international oils, was up 4 cents at $48.90 in London.

CURRENCIES: The euro fell to $1.1170 from $1.1179 in the previous global trading session. The dollar fell to 120.13 yen from 120.19 yen.