Asian Stocks Down as Risk of Slower COVID-19 Recovery Increases

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Investing.com – Asia Pacific stocks were mostly down on Monday morning, with investors calculating the risk of slower economic recovery from COVID-19 amid elevated inflation.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 was down 0.21% by 9:56 PM ET (1:57 AM GMT). South Korea’s KOSPI was down 0.23% while in Australia, the ASX 200 was up 0.31%.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index slid 1.80%.

China’s Shanghai Composite was down 0.27% while the Shenzhen Component inched up 0.03%, with data including industrial production and fixed asset investment to be released on Wednesday.

Authorities are reportedly seeking to break up Ant Group Co Ltd (HK:6688)’s Alipay and create a separate app for its loan business. U.S.-China tension is also on the radar with U.S. President Joe Biden reportedly contemplating a new probe into Chinese subsidies.

Fujian province is also working to curb the latest COVID-19 outbreak in the province.

Elsewhere in Asia Pacific, North Korea said it successfully test-fired a new type of long-range cruise missile.

U.S. Treasury yields continued their climb as investors assess inflationary pressures and their impact on the U.S. Federal Reserve’s likely timeline to begin asset tapering. Investors now await U.S. consumer price index data, due on Tuesday, for further clues to the timeline.

Some investors remain cautiously optimistic even as COVID-19 shows no signs of stopping and key central banks move towards asset tapering,

“Risk assets will continue to struggle in the near term with weak hard data due to the COVID-19 Delta outbreak and supply disruptions over the summer,” Barclays (LON:BARC) Plc analysts including Shinichiro Kadota said in a note. But the note added that the analysts are wary of turning too bearish as progress toward containing COVID-19 will likely eventually bolster growth prospects.

Meanwhile, signs of opposition to Biden’s $3.5 trillion tax-and-spending plan are beginning to emerge, with Democrat Senator Joe Manchin questioning the timeline for pushing the gigantic plan through Congress and its price tag.

Epic Games Inc. also filed a notice of appeal in its antitrust lawsuit against Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) Apple will also hold its product-launch event on Tuesday.