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Asian stocks drop, led by a nearly 4% tumble in Taiwan equities

BEIJING (AP) — Asian stock markets retreated Wednesday as investors looked ahead to U.S. data they worry will show inflation is picking up.

Shanghai, Tokyo and Southeast Asian markets declined. Hong Kong advanced. Taiwan’s tech heavy index sank more than 8% before rebounding, but still reflected deep losses.

Overnight, Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index lost 0.9% amid concern inflation might accelerate, hampering an economic recovery and dragging on share prices.

More U.S. inflation were due out Wednesday. Investor concern is increasing following a price rise for industrial materials including copper and crude oil.

“Asian equities traded sideways following a lackluster session on Wall Street, where risk sentiment prevailed amid inflationary concerns,” Anderson Alves of ActivTrades said in a report. This week’s data are “essential for investors worldwide as U.S. markets are the primary benchmark for risk assets globally.”

The Shanghai Composite Index
SHCOMP,
+0.61%

lost less than 0.1%, while the Nikkei 225
NIK,
-1.61%

in Tokyo fell 1.3%. The Hang Seng
HSI,
+0.50%

in Hong Kong fell 0.2%.
The Kospi
180721,
-1.49%

in Seoul tumbled 1.5% and the S&P-ASX 200
XJO,
-0.73%

in Sydney fell1%. New Zealand and Southeast Asian markets also declined.

Taiwan’s TAIEX
Y9999,
-4.11%

fell 4%, with shares of heavily weighted Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing
TSM,
+0.48%

2330,
-1.93%

dropping nearly 2%.

On Wall Street, banks and energy companies led a broad pullback Tuesday.
The S&P 500
SPX,
-0.87%

fell to 4,152.19. The Dow Jones Industrial Average
DJIA,
-1.36%

sank 1.4% in its worst day since February. The Nasdaq Composite
COMP,
-0.09%

lost 0.1% to 13,389.43.

Commodity prices have been rising, particularly for industrial metals such as copper and platinum, as well as for energy commodities like gasoline and crude oil.
Big technology companies were among the biggest decliners for a second day. Tech stocks get most of their valuation from future profits that might be less valuable if they are eroded by inflation.

Investors have worried about inflation since bond yields spiked earlier this year, though yields have mostly stabilized since then. The yield on the 10-year Treasury
TMUBMUSD10Y,
1.618%

held steady Tuesday at 1.61%.

The Federal Reserve has said the U.S. economy will be allowed to “run hot” to ensure a recovery is established. Despite that, investors worry rising prices might pressure central banks to pull back stimulus and raise near-zero interest rates.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude
CL.1,
+0.51%

lost 17 cents to $65.11 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 36 cents on Tuesday to $65.28. Brent crude
BRN00,
+0.53%
,
used to price international oils, sank 21 cents to $68.34 per barrel in London. It rose 23 cents the previous session to $68.55.

The dollar
USDJPY,
+0.16%

gained to 108.85 yen from Tuesday’s 108.65. The euro
EURUSD,
-0.16%

fell to $1.2126 from $1.2152.

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