Asian stock markets higher after Wall St sinks further

Asian stock markets are higher after Wall Street sank on weak U.S. housing sales and a profit warning by a prominent social media brand

Asian stock markets gained Wednesday after Wall Street sank on weak U.S. housing sales and a profit warning by a prominent social media brand.

Shanghai, Hong Kong and Seoul advanced while Tokyo declined. Oil prices rose more than $1 per barrel to stay above $110.

Wall Street's benchmark S&P 500 index lost 0.8% after the profit warning Tuesday by Snapchat’s parent company. Spooked investors dumped social media stocks. Construction stocks fell after U.S. home sales plunged in April.

“The overall mood in equity markets remains largely downbeat,” Jun Rong Yeap of IG said in a report.

The Shanghai Composite Index advanced 0.8% to 3,094.88 while the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo shed less than 0.1% to 26,729.70. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong gained 0.5% to 20,216.79.

The Kospi in Seoul rose 0.8% to 2,626.90 and Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 added 0.7% to 7,177.80.

India's Sensex opened up less than 0.1% at 54,099.64. New Zealand, Singapore and Jakarta declined while Bangkok advanced.

Investors are on edge about the impact of interest rate hikes in the United States and other Western economies to cool surging inflation, as well as Russia's war on Ukraine and a Chinese economic slowdown.

On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve is due to give insight into its decision-making by releasing minutes of its latest policy meeting.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 on Tuesday fell to 3,941.48. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.2% to 31,928.62.

The S&P is down 18% from its Jan. 3 high, putting it on the brink of a bear market, or a 20% decline from the previous top.

The Nasdaq composite, dominated by tech stocks, slide 2.3% to 11,264.45 after the social media selloff. Snap plummeted 43.1%, its biggest single-day drop ever. Facebook parent Meta slumped 7.6%. Google’s parent fell 5.1%.

Retailers and companies that rely on direct consumer spending declined. Amazon slid 3.2% and Target fell 2.6%.

The pullback undercut the previous day's broad rally.

Homebuilders slumped following a government report showing that April sales of newly built homes plunged 26.9% from a year earlier. KB Home fell 2.7%.

Cruise lines and other travel-related companies took heavy losses. Carnival slid 10.3% and Norwegian Cruise Line fell 12%.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude rose $1.35 to $111.12 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 52 cents on Tuesday to $109.77. Brent crude, the price basis for international oil trading, advanced $1.32 to $112.01 per barrel in London. It rose 14 cents the previous session to $113.56.

The dollar gained to 126.99 yen from Tuesday's 126.82 yen. The euro rose to $1.0709 from $1.0693.

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