Investing.com – Asia Pacific stocks were down on Thursday morning, with China’s regulatory tightening for private industries continues clouding investor sentiment. However, moves remained small ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s annual symposium that could provide clues to the central bank’s next steps.
South Korea’s KOSPI was down 0.21% by 9:56 PM ET (1:56 AM GMT). The Bank of Korea (BOK) handed down its latest policy decision earlier in the day, with South Korea becoming the first major Asian economy to hike interest rates since COVID-19 began. The BOK interest rate for August is 0.75%, up by 25 basis points from the previous 0.5% and well within expectations.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was down 0.24%.
China’s Shanghai Composite was down 0.30% while the Shenzhen Component inched up 0.03%. Chinese stocks listed in the U.S. gave up Wednesday’s gains, with China continuing to tighten regulation on private industries.
Benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasuries continued their upward trend ahead of the Fed’s Jackson Hole symposium, which opens later in the day.
Investors are divided as to whether Fed officials will provide a clear timetable for asset tapering and interest rate hikes, with Fed Chairman Jerome Powell due to speak on Friday.
“The U.S. stock market remains excessively bullish, but still ripe for its first 5% pullback in almost a year as a potential peak in stimulus is here,” Oanda senior market analyst Edward Moya said in a note.
Powell’s “speech will likely emphasize the economic recovery is well past the crisis and that they will shortly announce they are ready to taper asset purchases,” the note added.
Investors now await the U.S. GDP for the second quarter, due later in the day. The core personal consumption expenditures price index, a measure closely watched by the Fed, as well as personal income and spending data, are due on Friday.