A man watches an electronic ticker tape outside a securities firm in Tokyo, Japan. Picture: BLOOMBERG/SOICHIRO KORIYAMA
A man watches an electronic ticker tape outside a securities firm in Tokyo, Japan. Picture: BLOOMBERG/SOICHIRO KORIYAMA

Hong Kong — Asian shares dropped and the safe-haven dollar held firm on Tuesday, as a global energy crunch fuelled inflation fears, clouding investor sentiment before the US corporate earnings season.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 0.9% in early trade, after US stocks ended the previous session with mild losses. US stock futures, the S&P 500 e-minis, fell 0.43%.

Australian shares slipped 0.29% while Japan’s Nikkei stock index slid 1.03%.

China’s blue-chip CSI300 index was 0.75% lower, while the Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index opened down 1.35%.

“Risk markets had a mixed start to the week amid light data flow and ahead of the US earnings season,” ANZ analysts said in a note. “Economies appear to be entering a more challenging phase of the cycle and we think investors and corporates will be monitoring how the economic data and earnings results fall before making assessments of near term direction.”

Also weighing on investor sentiment, Reuters reported that some of China Evergrande’s offshore bondholders have not received interest payment by a Monday deadline. Rivals Modern Land and Sinic became the latest developers scrambling to delay bond payment deadlines.

Evergrande’s debt troubles and contagion worries have sent shock waves across global markets in recent months and the firm has already missed payments on dollar bonds, worth a combined $131m, that were due on September 23 and 29.

Wall Street’s main indices ended a choppy session lower on Monday as investors grew nervous ahead of third-quarter earnings reporting season.

A rally in basic material and energy shares on higher oil prices initially lifted US stock indices. But the gains faded amid concerns about earnings, set to kick off with JPMorgan results on Wednesday.

Some analysts expect companies to report slowing growth due to supply-chain snags and rising prices. They warned that this could lead to a drop in US stocks.

JPMorgan shares were down 2.1% and among the biggest drags on the S&P 500, which lost 0.69% to 4,361.19.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.72% to 34,496.06, while the Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.64% to 14,486.20.

After US data last week showed weaker jobs growth than expected in September, the focus now shifts to inflation and retail sales numbers this week. Investors also expect the Federal Reserve to begin tightening policy by announcing a tapering of its huge bond-buying next month.

The prospect of accelerating inflation and tighter monetary policy lifted bond yields.

The yield on benchmark 10-year yield touched 1.6136% after a strong rise on Monday. The two-year yield rose to 0.3517%, up from its US close of 0.318%.

The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of currencies of other trading partners, was up at 94.423.

Gold, usually seen as a hedge against inflation, was slightly lower. Spot gold was traded at $1753.55 an ounce.

Oil prices, which had jumped on Monday on rebounding demand and cutbacks in supply, dropped slightly with US crude down 0.36% to $80.23 a barrel. Brent crude fell to $83.39 a barrel.

Reuters

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