TOKYO—Global shares mostly fell in cautious trading on Wednesday, with Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 down nearly 3 percent, after stocks on Wall Street sank to a new low for the year.
France’s CAC 40 added 0.1 percent to 7,138.95, while Germany’s DAX shed 0.3 percent to 15,720.91. Britain’s FTSE 100 sank 0.1 percent to 7,556.70. The futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 were 0.1 percent lower.
Technology shares led to the decline Tuesday on Wall Street, with the S&P 500 losing 1.8 percent. The Nasdaq, which is heavily weighted with technology stocks, slid 2.6 percent, while the Dow industrials fell 1.5 percent. The Russell 2000 index fell 3.1 percent, to 2,096.23.
Losses in global indexes have mounted this month as rising inflation and the pandemic’s latest surge has caused investors to take caution.
The Federal Reserve and other central banks are under pressure to curb inflation after U.S. consumer prices rose last month at their fastest pace in nearly 40 years. At the same time, the U.S. job market has bounced back, leaving the unemployment rate last month at a pandemic low of 3.9 percent. That gives the Fed more leeway to rein in the unprecedented support it’s been providing the economy since the pandemic struck.
Higher rates could help stem inflation but would also mark an end to the conditions that have put markets in “easy mode” for many investors since early 2020.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 dropped 2.8 percent to finish at 27,467.23, its lowest close since August, on heavy selling of big manufacturers like Toyota Motor Corp., which lost 5 percent.
Sony Corp. plunged 12.8 percent following the announcement Tuesday that Microsoft is paying $68.7 billion for Activision Blizzard, the maker of Candy Crush and Call of Duty, as it seeks an edge in the fiercely competitive businesses of mobile gaming and virtual-reality technology.
The deal will turn Microsoft, maker of the Xbox gaming system, into one of the world’s largest video game companies and help it compete with tech rivals such as Meta, formerly Facebook, in creating immersive virtual worlds for both work and play.
Japanese video game maker Nintendo Co.’s shares lost only 0.2 percent. Activision Blizzard surged 25.9 percent on Tuesday.
In other Asian trading, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 fell 1.0 percent to 7,332.50. South Korea’s Kospi dropped 0.8 percent to 2,842.28. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng inched up 0.1 percent to 24,127.85, while the Shanghai Composite lost 0.3 percent to 3,558.18.
Market players are watching for the latest earnings releases, with Bank of America, UnitedHealth, and United Airlines reporting results on Wednesday. Earnings of American Airlines, Union Pacific, and Netflix are due on Thursday.
In energy trading, benchmark U.S. crude added 72 cents to $85.55 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It finished 1.9 percent higher at $84.83 a barrel, a 7-year high, on Tuesday.
Brent crude, the international standard, rose 59 cents to $88.10 a barrel.
In currency trading, the U.S. dollar fell to 114.48 Japanese yen from 114.61 yen. The euro rose to $1.1349 from $1.1327.
By Yuri Kageyama