Australian shares are set to open lower, after U.S. stocks ended the week down on news of rising inflation.

ASX futures were down 0.2% or 13 points as of 8:00am on Monday, suggesting a lower open.

U.S. stocks fell Friday, closing out another weekly loss after hotter-than-expected inflation data rattled markets.

The S&P 500 dropped 0.6% for the day. The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed nearly 200 points, or 0.5%. The Nasdaq Composite lost 1%.

In commodity markets, Brent crude oil was down 0.1% to US$85.34 a barrel, while gold was down 0.3% at US$2,155.90.

In local bond markets, the yield on Australian 2 Year government bonds was up at 3.86% while the 10 Year yield was also up at 4.13%. US Treasury notes were up, with the 2 Year yield at 4.73% and the 10 Year yield at 4.31%.

The Australian dollar hit 65.55 US cents. The Wall Street Journal Dollar Index, which tracks the US dollar against 16 other currencies, was down at 97.94.


Chinese shares ended higher, supported by auto and tech hardware stocks. The Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.5% to 3054.64 and ended the week 0.28% higher, extending its winning streak to a fifth week. The Shenzhen Composite Index added 0.9% and the ChiNext Composite Index edged 0.1% higher. Great Wall Motor gained 1.1% and Chongqing Changan Automobile rose 1.9%. Foxconn Industrial Internet gained 1.0% and Luxshare Precision Industry was 0.8% higher. Meanwhile, the China Securities Regulatory Commission pledged to enhance its oversight of the capital market and companies' IPO processes to protect investors.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell 1.4% to close at 16720.89, weighed by biotech and property stocks. Data out of China on Friday showed that housing prices continued to slump in February. Stabilizing the property market is important inrestoring market confidence, Lynn Song, ING chief economist for Greater China, writes in a note. Song adds that real estate will likely remain the main drag on China's economic growth in 2024. The Hang Seng Mainland Properties Index closed 1.9% lower. Among losers, Longfor Group shed 3.5%, China Overseas Land & Investment fell 3.2% and Hang Lung Properties lost 3.15%. Among other decliners, Wuxi Biologics slumped 11%. WuXi AppTec fell 8.9%, extending losses, as it decouples from a U.S. biotech lobbying group.

The Nikkei Stock Average fell 0.3% to 38707.64 as declines in chip stocks offset gains in energy companies. Tokyo Electron Ltd. fell 4.9% and Lasertec dropped 4.3% while Inpex climbed 4.5% and Mitsubishi Corp. gained 3.5%. Broader market index Topix rose 0.3% to 2670.80. The 10-year Japanese government bond yield rose one basis point to 0.785%. Investors are focusing on any policy-related developments ahead of the Bank of Japan's two-day policy meeting starting on Monday.

Indian shares declined, led by tech and financial stocks, as fading hopes for an early rate cut by the U.S. Fed weighed on Asian markets. U.S. inflation data unexpectedly rose to 3.2% in February, highlighting the challenge ahead of the Fed in the fight against rising prices. Among major stocks, Infosys was down 1.1% and HCL Technologies was down more than 1.9%. The benchmark Sensex was down 0.6% at 72643.43.


European stocks were mixed as the week draws to a close, with the Stoxx Europe 600 down 0.3% at 504.80, tracking falls in U.S. stocks and cautious ahead of next week's barrage of central bank decisions, while German and French indexes were flat. The U.S. Federal Reserve and the Bank of England are both expected to keep interest rates on hold, with focus centering on any hints about when rate cuts are likely to begin. The Bank of Japan is expected to go in the opposite direction, with the central bank poised to raise rates and end its negative-rate policy either next week or in April. Germany's DAX and France's CAC 40 were flat at 17,936.65 and 8,164.35 respectively.

The FTSE 100 closed down 0.2% at 7727.42 points on Friday, dragged by Reckitt Benckiser shares which fell after the company was hit with a $60 million fine in a court case relating to its Enfamil infant formula. "Wall Street is lower after more poor data from the U.S. today, while in London the FTSE 100's day has been hit by a fine for Reckitt Benckiser," said Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at online trading platform IG. Reckitt, Imperial Brands and GSK were the session's biggest fallers, down 14.6%, 2.6% and 2.3%, respectively. International Consolidated Airlines Group was the day's highest riser, up 6.2%, followed by Vodafone and Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust, up 5.7% and 5.5%, respectively.

North America

U.S. stocks fell Friday, closing out another weekly loss after hotter-than-expected inflation data rattled markets.

The S&P 500 dropped 0.6% for the day. The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed nearly 200 points, or 0.5%. The Nasdaq Composite lost 1%. All three indexes finished the week lower, with the S&P 500 notching its first set of consecutive weekly declines since October.

Reports on consumer and producer prices released earlier this week reflected higher inflation than economists anticipated, undercutting investors' hopes that the Federal Reserve could soon begin cutting interest rates. Fed Chair Jerome Powell has said the central bank was looking for greater confidence that inflation was returning to its 2% target.

Bond yields climbed. The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note—a benchmark for borrowing costs on everything from mortgages to corporate loans—jumped to 4.303%, from 4.088% the week prior.

Growth-oriented areas of the stock market struggled. Shares of companies expecting windfalls in the future tend to be hurt by elevated interest rates. Information technology and communication services were the two worst-performing sectors of the S&P 500 on Friday, each down more than 1%. An index of chip stocks, the PHLX Semiconductor Index, fell 4% this week in its worst weekly performance since January.

"Interest rate sensitivity is coming back into the market," said Tim Courtney, chief investment officer at Exencial Wealth Advisors.

Friday also marked a "triple witching," the quarterly event when derivatives contracts tied to index options, index futures and single-stock options expire on the same day. The flurry of contracts expiring at the same time can lead to heightened volatility.

Meanwhile, U.S. consumers appeared a little less optimistic. The University of Michigan's monthly measure of U.S. consumer sentiment released Friday came in lower than economists anticipated.

Though Fed officials are broadly expected to keep interest rates unchanged at their policy meeting next week, investors are looking to the meeting for more clarity about when the central bank could begin lowering rates. Traders are pricing in a roughly 9% chance of a rate cut in May, down from about 24% a week ago, according to CME's FedWatch Tool.

"The Fed meeting next week has probably become more important or more impactful than we thought," said Shannon Saccocia, chief investment officer of NB Private Wealth.

Among individual stocks, Adobe shares slid 14% on Friday after the software company's latest results topped forecasts, but guidance for its current quarter disappointed investors. Ulta Beauty's stock fell 5.2% after the company warned of slowing growth in the beauty industry and offered full-year earnings guidance that missed Wall Street's expectations. Fisker shares rose 13% after the embattled electric-vehicle maker played down talks of a potential bankruptcy filing.