Most Asian stocks slipped Monday on remarks from the U.S. Federal Reserve late last week that the case has strengthened for raising interest rates, but the Tokyo market was an exception and gained on prospects for a strong dollar.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 added 2.2 percent to 16,719.31 in early trading. Japanese stocks generally gain on a weak yen because the earnings of the nation’s giant exporters are boosted. South Korea’s Kospi fell 0.3 percent to 2,031.36 in morning trading. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng slipped 0.5 percent to 22,788.02, while the Shanghai Composite lost nearly 0.3 percent to 3,062.52.
U.S. Fed Chair Janet Yellen made comments on Friday that were bullish on the economy but gave no timetable for future rate increases. But that set off speculation among investors about an interest rate hike later this year, and that in turn set off worries about global growth.
U.S. shares fell Friday. Seven of the 10 sectors of the Standard and Poor’s 500 index had fallen, led by a 2.1 percent drop in utilities. The S&P 500 slipped 3.43 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,169.04. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 53.01 points, or 0.3 percent, to 18,395.40. The Nasdaq composite rose 6.71 points, or 0.1 percent, to 5,218.92.
Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell 61 cents to $47.03. It had risen 31 cents to close at $47.64 a barrel on Friday. Brent crude, used to price oil internationally, lost 53 cents to $49.62.
The dollar rose to 102.10 yen from 100.51 yen late last week in Asia. The euro fell to $1.1196 from $1.1289.