Stock market today: Asian stocks decline after Wall Street logs its worst week in the last 10

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HONG KONG (AP) — Major Asian stock markets retreated on Monday after Wall Street logged its worst week since Halloween.

U.S. futures were lower even after Congressional leaders reached an agreement on overall spending levels for the current fiscal year that could help avoid a partial government shutdown later this month.

Oil prices fell after Saudi Arabia on Sunday cut oil prices to Asian markets to their lowest level in 27 months.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng sank 1.9% to 16,187.00, led by technology shares, which dropped 2.4%. The Shanghai Composite index slipped 1.2% to 2,894.58.

China announced sanctions Sunday against five American defense-related companies in response to U.S. arms sales to Taiwan and U.S sanctions on Chinese companies and individuals. The announcement was made less than a week ahead of a presidential election in Taiwan that is centered around the self-ruled island’s relationship with China, which claims it as its own territory.

In South Korea, the Kospi shed 0.2%, to 2,572.41, and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.5% to 7,453.40.

Taiwan’s Taiex gained 0.5%, while the SET in Bangkok was 0.5% lower.

Markets in Japan were closed for a holiday.

Investors are waiting for inflation reports later this week from Japan, the U.S. and China.

Friday on Wall Street, the S&P 500 rose 0.2% to 4,697.24 after drifting between small gains and losses through the day. It capped the first losing week for the index in the last 10, after it roared into 2024 on hopes that inflation and the overall economy are cooling enough for the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates sharply through the year.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.1% to 37.466.11 and the Nasdaq composite added 0.1% to 14,524.07.

Treasury yields swung sharply in the bond market following the economic reports. They initially climbed after the latest monthly jobs report showed U.S. employers unexpectedly accelerated their hiring last month. Average hourly pay for workers also rose, when economists had been forecasting a dip.

Such strong numbers are good news for workers, and they should keep the economy humming. That’s a positive for corporate profits, which are one of the main factors that set prices for stocks.

But Wall Street’s worry is the strong data could also convince the Federal Reserve upward pressure remains on inflation. That in turn could mean the Fed will hold interest rates high for longer than expected. Interest rates affect the other big factor setting stock prices, with high ones hurting financial markets.

The jobs report briefly forced traders to push out their forecasts for when the Fed could begin to cut rates. But another report on Friday showed that growth for finance, real estate and other companies in the U.S. services industries slowed by more than economists expected last month.

Altogether, the data could bolster Wall Street’s building hopes for a perfect landing for the economy, one where it slows just enough through high interest rates to stamp out high inflation but not so much that it causes a recession.

After climbing as high as 4.09% immediately after the jobs report, the yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to back to 3.96% following the weaker-than-expected report on services industries. It eventually pulled back to 4.04%, compared with 4.00% late Thursday.

On Wall Street, Constellation Brands climbed 2.1% after the seller of Corona and Modelo beers in the United States reported stronger profit for the latest quarter than analysts expected.

On the losing end was Apple, whose 0.4% dip Friday sent it to a 5.9% loss for the week, its worst since September. It’s a sharp turnaround from last year, when the market’s most influential stock soared more than 48%.

In other dealings, U.S. benchmark crude oil slipped 83 cents to $72.98 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the international standard, lost 87 cents to $77.89 per barrel.

The U.S. dollar fell to 144.49 Japanese yen from 144.59 yen. The euro declined to $1.0933 from $1.0945 late Friday.

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