U.S. Stock Markets Closed for Good Friday, Asian Indexes Fall

Asian indexes fell Friday as U.S. stock markets and others world-wide were closed to finish a trading week shortened by Good Friday and other holidays.

In addition to U.S. stock markets, bond and commodities markets were also closed Friday. Some Asian markets were open. Japan’s Nikkei 225 ended the day down 0.3%, finishing the week up 0.4% to break a two-week losing streak. The Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.4%, ending the week down 1.25%. The People’s Bank of China on Friday relaxed a key bank lending constraint while leaving benchmark interest rates unchanged.

Bitcoin rose 1.4% Friday from its Thursday 5 p.m. ET level, recently trading at $40,462. It was on track to lose roughly 5% for the week.

The three major U.S. stock indexes fell this week. Investors worried about rising inflation, consumer spending and the prospects of an economic slowdown. Earlier this week, data indicated U.S. inflation surged to a new four-decade high of 8.5% in March from the same month a year ago, driven by higher food and energy costs. Those concerns have ramped up pressure on the Federal Reserve to potentially raise interest rates by half a percentage point at its coming meeting.

The Dow industrials fell 269.89 points, or 0.8%, to 34451.23 this week. The S&P 500 lost 95.69 points, or 2.1%, to 4392.59. The technology-focused Nasdaq Composite dropped 359.92 points, or 2.6%, to 13351.08.

This week, earnings season kicked off with quarterly reports from banks and financial-services firms, which often are seen as proxies for the health of the U.S. economy. JPMorgan Chase, BlackRock and Wells Fargo fell this week after reporting a drop in profit, raising worries of an economic downturn. Their results were pulled down because of comparisons to bumper profits during the pandemic.

Goldman Sachs, Citigroup and Morgan Stanley all added less than 1% this week. The KBW Nasdaq bank index fell 2.6% during the same period.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note finished the week at 2.808%, its highest level since December 2018, with investors betting on rising interest rates. Bond yields and prices move in opposite directions.

Brent crude, the international oil benchmark, moved back up to $111.70 a barrel on Thursday after finishing last week at $102.78.

Next week, investors will parse out jobless claims and home sales figures to better understand the direction of the U.S. economy. Bank and financial services earnings continue next week with Bank of America and Charles Schwab. Tesla, AT&T and Baker Hughes are also scheduled to report quarterly results.

Write to Hardika Singh at hardika.singh@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

April 15, 2022 14:12 ET (18:12 GMT)