Australian shares are set to open lower, after falls in U.S. benchmarks, led by declines in real estate stocks.

ASX futures were down 0.7% or 56 points as of 8:00am on Friday, suggesting a lower open.

U.S. stocks fell Thursday after another round of inflation data came in hotter than expected.

The S&P 500 fell 0.3% to 5,150.48, leaving it down 0.5% from its record close Tuesday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.4% to 38,905.66, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite declined 0.3% to 16,128.53.

In commodity markets, Brent crude oil was up 1.3% to US$85.11 a barrel, while gold was down 0.6% at US$2,162.19.

In local bond markets, the yield on Australian 2 Year government bonds was up at 3.79% while the 10 Year yield was also up at 4.05%. US Treasury notes were up, with the 2 Year yield at 4.69% and the 10 Year yield at 4.29%.

The Australian dollar hit 65.79 US cents up from its previous close of 66.19. The Wall Street Journal Dollar Index, which tracks the US dollar against 16 other currencies, was down at 97.94.


Chinese shares ended lower as investors await new catalysts after the National People's Congress meetings. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.2% to 3038.23, the Shenzhen Composite Index closed 0.6% lower and the ChiNext Price Index declined 0.6%. Among major stocks, WuXi AppTec shed 5.7% and Foxconn Industrial Internet was down 6.2%. Meanwhile, pharmaceutical stocks advanced amid hopes for government support for the sector. Hangzhou Tigermed Consulting jumped 20% and Hinova Pharmaceuticals added 5.3%.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell 0.7% to close at 16961.66, weighed down by biotech stocks. Wuxi Biologics slid 13% while WuXi AppTec sank 12% on news that a U.S. trade association was cutting ties with WuXi AppTec as part of measures to aid U.S. national-security efforts. Among other decliners, Xinyi Solar closed 6.4% lower and Budweiser Brewing fell 4.1%. Meanwhile, Zijin Mining Group rose 3.5%, Shenzhou International gained 3.4% and Zhongsheng Group was 3.3% higher.

Nikkei Stock Average edged 0.3% higher to close at 38807.38, erasing earlier losses on mild risk appetite spurred by gains in U.S. stock-index futures, as well as by JPY weakness. A weaker yen usually benefits overseas earnings of Japanese exporters when repatriated to Japan. Among the best performers on Japan's benchmark index, Tokyo Electric Power rose 6.75%, Sumitomo Metal Mining added 6.7%, and Kansai Electric Power was up 6.1%. Meanwhile, Ebara fell 4.8%, Eisai dropped 3.7%, and Advantest was down 2.3%. The 10-year JGB yield was up 2 bps at 0.775%.

Indian shares ended higher after the country's wholesale inflation moderated further to 0.20% on year in February from 0.27% in January. Among major stocks, HCL Technologies rose 3.0%, Wipro gained 2.6% and Infosys added 2.5%. Decliners included Bajaj Finance, which fell 1.05%, and IndusInd Bank, which shed 1.3%. India's benchmark Sensex rose 0.5% to close at 73097.28.


European shares were mixed, with the STOXX Europe 600 Index down 0.2% to 506.40, the CAC 40 up 0.3% to 8,161.42, and the DAX 40 ending down 0.3% at 17,942.04.

The FTSE 100 closed down 0.4% at 7740.19 points on Thursday, putting an end to three consecutive days of rises after U.S. wholesale inflation data climbed more than expected. "Higher [U.S. inflation] data and rising volatility sends a signal that this rally might be living on borrowed time," said Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at online trading platform IG. Anglo American, International Consolidated Airlines Group, and St. James's Place were the session's biggest fallers, down 3.4%, 3.2% and 2.5%, respectively. ConvaTec Group was the day's highest riser, up 2.2%, followed by Informa and Weir Group, up 2.1% and 1.7% respectively.

North America

U.S. stocks fell Thursday after another round of inflation data came in hotter than expected.

The S&P 500 fell 0.3% to 5,150.48, leaving it down 0.5% from its record close Tuesday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.4% to 38,905.66, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite declined 0.3% to 16,128.53.

Producer prices rose 0.6% in February from the prior month, more than the 0.3% increase economists had projected. That was after data Tuesday showed consumer prices climbing more than forecast over the past year.

Investors have been scrutinizing the path of inflation as they try to anticipate when the Federal Reserve will begin to cut interest rates. Fed Chair Jerome Powell has said the central bank wants to be more confident that inflation is returning to its 2% target.

The data Thursday appeared to weigh on investors' hopes that the time for rate cuts will soon be at hand.

"From a central banker's perspective, the worst thing you can do is have the economy take a lot of medicine in terms of higher interest rates to get inflation under control and then cut rates too early, before you've really seen inflation come down materially to a level where you're confident that it will continue to be low and move lower," said Sinead Colton Grant, chief investment officer at BNY Mellon Wealth Management.

In bond markets, the yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note jumped to 4.297%, from 4.191% on Wednesday, its largest one-day gain in a month. Analysts say yields have climbed this week partly because of concerns that the hot inflation data could lead Fed officials to signal fewer rate cuts this year.

The rise in yields weighed on corners of the stock market sought out by investors for their chunky dividend payments. Real estate was the worst performer of the S&P 500's 11 sectors, falling 1.6%, followed by utilities, with a decline of 0.8%.

Shares of real-estate investment trust Public Storage fell 2.8%, and shares of utility PG&E dropped 1.4%.

A big day for Microsoft, the largest U.S. company by market value, helped cushion indexes. Microsoft shares gained 2.4% to $425.22, their 15th record close of the year, according to Dow Jones Market Data. The company said Wednesday that its artificial-intelligence product Copilot for Security will be available worldwide next month.

The picture for other big tech stocks was mixed, with Apple shares adding 1.1% but Nvidia shares falling 3.2%.

Some investors have pointed to an increasing range of stocks making gains as a promising signal. A version of the S&P 500 that weights big and small members equally recently notched its first record close in more than two years.

That is a contrast from last year, when gains by big tech stocks helped the S&P 500 outperform the equal-weighted index by the most percentage points since 1998, according to Dow Jones Market Data.

"More companies are participating in the market," said John Porter, chief investment officer and head of equity at Newton Investment Management. "There's more of a foundation for the market to continue to build on."

Among individual stocks, shares of Robinhood Markets advanced 5.2% after the company said trading volumes jumped in February. Under Armour shares slumped 11% after news that founder Kevin Plank is returning as chief executive.