Tech stocks struggle ahead of key US inflation data

Investors were eyeing the unveiling of Apple's latest iPhones and other products from the world's most valuable company (Pedro PARDO)
Investors were eyeing the unveiling of Apple's latest iPhones and other products from the world's most valuable company (Pedro PARDO)

US and European markets closed mostly in the red on a disappointing day for tech stocks, as investors brace for crucial US inflation data and grapple with ongoing concerns about the Chinese economy.

On Wall Street, the tech-rich Nasdaq plunged more than one percent as some recent optimism for big tech turned sour, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 also fell.

"It was just a kind of a generally weak session from the get-go,"'s Patrick O'Hare told AFP.

In Europe, Paris and Frankfurt closed lower, but London's FTSE 100 ended the day with a small gain.

And in Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 ended the day up almost one percent, while major stock markets in Hong Kong and Shanghai both declined.

- US tech optimism sours -

Among individual US tech firms, Apple saw its share price fall more than 1.7 percent after unveiling a series of technology products including a new iPhone.

Shares in other major tech names dipped as well, including Amazon and Google parent Alphabet.

There is "a big wait-and-see element to today's moves," Craig Erlam of the OANDA trading platform told AFP.

"Markets are currently positioning for the possibility of another hike and [Wednesday] could make or break that ahead of next week's meeting," he added.

Key US inflation data published on Wednesday will give investors an important indication of whether the Federal Reserve will hike interest rates again next week.

The US Fed has already hiked interest rates 11 times since March last year to tackle inflation, lifting its key lending rate to a level not seen for 22 years.

Most analysts and traders expect the US central bank to hold rates steady next week amid growing signs of softening in the labor market.

However, if inflation data comes in too hot on Wednesday, the Fed may feel forced to act more forcefully and raise rates again.

Investors fear that a further increase to borrowing costs could further squeeze under-pressure consumers and perhaps even tip the US economy into recession.

While the Fed meets next week, the European Central Bank will decide Thursday whether to pause or continue its own rate-hike campaign after 10 straight increases.

- Green Country Garden -

In Asia, the Hong Kong stock exchange fell but property stocks rallied following a report that troubled Chinese developer Country Garden had been given the green light by creditors to extend payments on six yuan bonds by three years.

The firm won approval from creditors this month to extend a deadline for another key bond repayment to give it time to recover financially.

Rival Chinese property giant Evergrande, which is also struggling with massive debts, climbed more than six percent.

However, China worries continue to dampen buying sentiment, even after small signs of improvement in the world's number-two economy, including a return to inflation and a smaller-than-expected drop in exports and imports.

- Key figures around 2030 GMT -

New York - Dow: DOWN 0.1 percent at 34,645.99 points (close)

New York - S&P 500: DOWN 0.6 percent at 4,461.90 (close)

New York - Nasdaq: DOWN 1.0 percent at 13,773.61 (close)

London - FTSE 100: UP 0.4 percent at 7,527.53 (close)

Frankfurt - DAX: DOWN 0.5 percent at 15,715.53 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: DOWN 0.4 percent at 7,252.88 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.3 percent at 4,242.53 (close)

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 1.0 percent at 32,776.37 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: DOWN 0.4 percent at 18,025.89 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 0.2 percent at 3,137.06 (close)

Dollar/yen: UP at 147.15 yen from 146.56 yen on Monday

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.0732 from $1.0752

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.2492 from $1.2511

Euro/pound: UP at 85.88 from 85.87 pence

Brent North Sea crude: UP 1.6 percent at $92.06 per barrel

West Texas Intermediate: UP 1.8 percent at $88.84 per barrel