By JOE McDONALD
BEIJING (AP) — Asian stock markets fell on Thursday after Chinese industry faltered and Russian bombardment around the Ukrainian capital shook hopes for progress in peace talks.
Shanghai, Hong Kong and Tokyo fell while Seoul gained. Oil fell nearly $7 a barrel in New York but remained above $100.
Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index fell 0.6% on Wednesday after US economic growth was weaker than expected.
Russian forces shelled areas near kyiv and another city on Wednesday after Moscow said it would scale back operations there to promote confidence. Negotiators were meeting in Turkey to try to end the five-week-old war.
Russia is “pouring cold water on the headlines of constructive ceasefire talks,” Stephen Innes of SPI Asset Management said in a report.
The Shanghai Composite Index lost less than 0.2% to 3,261.04 after a manufacturing activity index fell to its lowest level in five months after China shut down much of Shanghai and two small industrial towns to fight coronavirus outbreaks.
The Hang Seng in Hong Kong fell 0.8% to 22,062.09.
“The near-term outlook remains highly uncertain,” Julian Evans-Pritchard of Capital Economics said in a report. “Even if the epidemic is soon brought under control, it will still take some time for the economy to get back on track.”
The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo fell 0.2% to 27,977.98 while the Kospi in Seoul gained 0.6% to 2,761.78.
Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 advanced 0.4% to 7,546.00. New Zealand and Singapore fell while Jakarta advanced.
On Wall Street, the S&P 500 fell to 4,602.45 after Commerce Department data showed the US economy grew at an annual rate of 6.9% in the final quarter of 2021, lagging behind forecasts.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.2% to 35,228.81. The Nasdaq composite lost 1.2% to 14,442.27.
Markets have mostly gained ground this week as talks between Russia and Ukraine appear to be progressing.
Concern over a potential disruption to Russian oil and gas exports added to concerns over rising US interest rates and a slowing Chinese economy.
On Thursday, the Commerce Department is due to release its personal income and spending report for February. The Labor Department will release US employment data for March on Friday.
In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude fell $6.67 to $101.15 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose $3.58 on Wednesday to $107.82. Brent crude, the price basis for international oil trade, fell $5.29 to $106.15 a barrel in London. It rose from $3.22 the previous session to $113.45.
President Joe Biden is preparing to order the release of up to 1 million barrels of oil a day from the United States’ Strategic Petroleum Reserve to help control energy prices, according to two people familiar with the decision who spoke on condition of anonymity to preview it.
The regular release of reserves would represent a significant amount and come close to closing the national output gap from February 2020, before the coronavirus caused a sharp decline in oil production.
The dollar rose to 122.22 yen from 121.78 yen on Wednesday. The euro fell from $1.1159 to $1.1167.