Australian shares are set to open lower, after Wall Street continued to fall on weakening rate-cut hopes.

ASX futures were down 0.3% or 20 points as of 8:30am on Thursday, suggesting a lower open.

U.S. stocks fell again as investors weighed cautious statements from central bankers over the pace of any upcoming interest rate decreases as U.S. economic data remains resilient.

DJIA fell 94 points to 37266, the S&P 500 lost 0.6% to 4739 and the Nasdaq dropped 0.6% to 14855.

In commodity markets, Brent crude oil fell 0.4% to US$77.96 a barrel while gold was down 1.1% to US$2,006.09.

In local bond markets, the yield on Australian 2 Year government bonds was up at 3.88% while the 10 Year yield was up at 4.21%. US Treasury notes were up, with the 2 Year yield at 4.35% and the 10 Year yield at 4.10%.

The Australian dollar hit 65.42 US cents down from the previous close of 65.82. The Wall Street Journal Dollar Index, which tracks the US dollar against 16 other currencies, was up at 98.02.


Chinese shares closed lower amid subdued sentiment following soft domestic economic data. Lower-than-expected retail sales growth and weak property investment are sore points for investors, said Gary Ng, senior economist at Natixis. The Chinese government may release more forceful fiscal policy instead of monetary policy to support the economy, a Maybank analyst said. Almost all major companies on the CSI300 index lost in today's session. Ningbo Tuopu Group fell 7.65%, Chongqing Changan Automobile shed 6.1% and BYD declined 4.6%. The few gainers included Bank of Beijing, which advanced 0.8% and Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology up 0.8%. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index lost 2.1%, the Shenzhen Composite Index fell 2.5% and the ChiNext Price Index declined 3.0%.

Hong Kong shares ended lower after weak China economic data and as remarks from Fed officials reignited focus on the timing of rate cuts this year. Investors are hoping for stronger fiscal and monetary policy support from Chinese authorities to boost the property market, HSBC Global Research analysts wrote in a note. The benchmark Hang Seng Index was down 3.7% at 15276.90, marking the largest one-day percentage loss since October 2022. Almost all sectors declined, dragged by property and technology stocks. The Hang Seng Tech Index was down 5.0%.Meituan lost 7.0% to HK$68.75, lower than its IPO price. Alibaba Health Information Technology and JD Health International fell 8.6% and 7.0%, respectively. Longfor Group declined 6.8% and Country Garden Services shed 6.3%.

Japanese stocks end lower, dragged by falls in pharmaceutical and chemical stocks, as profit-taking kicks in following their surge and disappointing China growth data. Daiichi Sankyo falls 3.8% and Shin-Etsu Chemical drops 3.3%. Nippon Paint Holdings, which is exposed to China's property sector, sheds 3.7%. The Nikkei Stock Average closes 0.4% lower at 35477.75, after hitting a new intraday high since February 1990. USD/JPY is at 147.88, up from 147.18 as of Tuesday 5 p.m. Eastern Time. Investors are focusing on U.S. economic data and their policy implications. The 10-year Japanese government bond yield rises 1.5 basis points to 0.605%.

Indian shares closed lower, weighed by bank stocks following HDFC Bank's 3Q results. Investor sentiment was also weighed by dimming hopes for an early Fed rate cut and China's weaker-than-expected economic data. HDFC Bank declined 8.5%, its largest daily percentage loss since March 2020 after its fiscal 3Q earnings showed a slowdown in growth. Kotak Mahindra Bank was 3.7% lower and ICICI Bank shed 2.85%. Asian Paints (India) dropped 1.7% after reporting fiscal 3Q results. Tech stocks rose broadly, with HCL Technologies up 1.3% and Infosys rising 0.55%. The benchmark Sensex ended 2.2% lower at 71500.76.


European stocks closed lower, with the Stoxx Europe 600 down 1.1% at 467.71, after central bank policymakers cast doubt on prospects of early interest-rate cuts, with U.K. stocks particularly weak after U.K. data showing an unexpected rise in inflation. Federal Reserve policymaker Christopher Waller said there was no need to rush rate cuts, while European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde said rates could fall in summer but this was dependent on data. "Investors finished 2023 on an exuberant note regarding potential rate cuts, but the theme this month is one of those expectations being radically dialed back," IG's Chris Beauchamp writes. Germany's DAX fell 0.8%, and France's CAC-40 lost 1.1%.

The FTSE 100 closed Wednesday down 1.48% as diminishing hopes of a U.K. rate cut combined with a rising U.S. dollar hit the index hard. The FTSE's new year has gone from bad to worse following this morning's inflation data, and hopes of an early Bank of England rate cut have receded dramatically, leaving the index high and dry, IG Group chief market analyst Chris Beauchamp says in a research note. While the inflation news has hit domestic stocks hard, international firms like those in the mining sector have taken a knock from the stronger dollar driving commodity prices lower, Beauchamp says. "This double-whammy spells trouble for the index, and a return to the October lows is a distinct possibility," Beauchamp says.

North America

U.S. stocks fell again as investors weighed cautious statements from central bankers over the pace of any upcoming interest rate decreases as U.S. economic data remains resilient.

DJIA fell 94 points to 37266, the S&P 500 lost 0.6% to 4739 and the Nasdaq dropped 0.6% to 14855.

Meanwhile, Treasury yields rose as derivative markets price in slower cuts.

U.S. retail sales rose more than expected in December, adding to bets that the Fed could remain patient.

Spirit Airlines dropped another 23% after a judge blocked its $3.8 billion takeover by JetBlue Airways.