Tuesday, 24 May, 2022

Asian stocks open mixed as investors fret over oil prices

Asian stocks opened mixed on Wednesday, following a volatile day on Wall Street that had investors concerned about surging inflation and sent global oil prices retreating.

Equities have been on a roller coaster ride in recent weeks, fuelled by inflationary pressures, Russia's war in Ukraine and concerns about China's Covid-19 lockdowns affecting the global supply chain.

The mainland's sinking April exports -- the lowest in almost two years -- have not reassured global investors, and on Tuesday it reported that its consumer inflation had risen at its quickest pace in nearly half a year.

But while the tea leaves remain far from clear for market readers, many are preparing for the worst.

Millions across China -- particularly in its economic engine Shanghai -- have been under a Covid-spurred lockdown for weeks, while restrictions have crept up in the capital Beijing.

The World Health Organization on Tuesday said Beijing's zero-Covid strategy is not sustainable given the behavior of recent ultra-contagious variants.

In New York, the Dow fell for the fourth straight day at Tuesday's close, while the broader S&P 500 edged back up above 4,000 points and Nasdaq jumped one percent.

European markets were more positive -- London, Paris and Frankfurt ended on slight gains.

Crude was sent on a ride, with benchmark US crude contract WTI falling below $100 a barrel on Tuesday. By Wednesday morning, it crept up to about $101.