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Nasdaq heads for fourth day of losses

Stocks opened mixed Thursday as concerns over further interest-rate hikes loom and a tech selloff continues.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 55 points, or 0.2 percent. The S&P 500 dropped 0.6 percent, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite fell 1.4 percent.

It was the fourth straight day of declines for the Nasdaq as Apple (ticker: AAPL) shares tumbled. News yesterday that China banned the use of iPhones for central government officials at work was continuing to weigh heavily on the stock.

Recent hawkish comments from Federal Reserve officials did not shut down the possibility of further rate increases this year to bring inflation down to the 2 percent goal.

European stock markets climb at open

Europe’s main stock markets rose at the start of trading on Friday, brushing off losses in Tokyo and Shanghai. London’s benchmark FTSE 100 index grew 0.2 percent to 7,456.95 points. In the eurozone, Frankfurt’s DAX index gained 0.4 percent to 15,776.11 points and the Paris CAC 40 won 0.3 percent to 7,216.00.

UK stocks open higher

UK’s main stock indexes rose on Friday as easing US bond yields and crude prices offered investors some relief at the end of a rough week for global markets. The exporter-heavy FTSE 100 index rose 0.3 percent in early trade, while the domestically focussed FTSE 250 index was up 0.2 percent.

Shanghai stocks down at open

Shanghai stocks dropped at the open Friday, in line with losses across Asia and following a weak lead from Wall Street, while morning trade in Hong Kong was suspended owing to a strong storm. The Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.26 percent, or 8.12 points, to 3,114.23, while the Shenzhen Composite Index on China’s second exchange shed 0.32 percent, or 6.17 points, to 1,930.70.

Australian shares slip

Australian shares inched lower on Friday, extending losses for a fourth session, as strong US economic data stoked fears that the Federal Reserve would deliver another rate hike to control sticky inflation. The S&P/ASX 200 index was down 0.1 percent at 7,161.00, as of 0026 GMT, declining 1.8 percent so far in the week. Data released overnight showed that the number of jobless claims in the United States fell unexpectedly last week to the lowest level since February, indicating that the country’s jobs market was still very tight and the economy was resilient. Meanwhile, data out of China showed another monthly decline in imports and exports, albeit less steep than expected, weighing heavily on regional commodity stocks. In Sydney, energy stocks slumped almost 1 percent, hitting the week’s lowest level, after oil prices fell overnight on signs of weaker demand in the coming months.

Japan’s Nikkei extends losses on US rate jitters

Japan’s Nikkei share average fell for a second session on Friday, tracking overnight Wall Street losses as worries about tighter US Federal Reserve policy and a Chinese iPhone ban weighed on sentiment. Tech and industrial companies led losses, with chip-making equipment giant Tokyo Electron dropping 4 percent to become the Nikkei’s biggest drag, shaving off 95 index points.

Mobile game and ad company CyberAgent dropped nearly 6 percent to be the Nikkei’s top percentage decliner. The Nikkei slid about 1 percent to 32,681.31 by the midday break, after earlier touching a one-week low of 32,535.58. On Thursday, the stock benchmark lost 0.75 percent, after hitting a more than one-month peak of 33,322.45.

Indian shares extend gains

Indian shares inched up to a more than one-month high on Friday, extending a five-session winning streak, led by gains in energy companies. The Nifty 50 index was up 0.2 percent at 19,766 by 9:21 a.m. IST, while the S&P BSE Sensex rose 0.2 percent to 66,396. The shares of several major Apple suppliers fell on Friday, following reports that China had widened curbs on use of iPhones by state employees, fanning fears about sales prospects in one of the US company’s biggest markets. Staff in at least three Chinese ministries and government bodies were told not to use iPhones at work, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Taiwan’s TSMC, the world’s largest contract chipmaker and a major Apple supplier, dropped about 0.7 percent, outpacing a fall of about 0.3 percent in the benchmark index.

Shares of ASE Technology Holding Co Ltd, one of the world’s largest semiconductor testing and packaging firms, fell more than 2 percent, while camera lens-maker Largan Precision Co Ltd dropped more than 3 percent.

China could well expand its curbs on officials’ use of iPhones, said Allen Huang, executive director of Mega International Investment Services Corp in Taipei.

Sri Lankan shares little changed

Sri Lankan shares ended almost flat on Thursday after a decline in LOLC Finance and John Keells offset gains in the broader financial and consumer staple sectors.

The CSE All Share index settled up 0.03 percent at 11,357.45.

Consumer goods conglomerate John Keells Holdings PLC was among the biggest losers, down 1.33 percent, while LOLC Finance PLC fell 1.89 percent.

Ceylinco Insurance PLC and Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka PLC were the top gainers on the CSE All Share, rising 13.33 percent and 4.25 percent, respectively.

Trading volume on the CSE All Share index fell to 55.1 million shares from 62.9 million shares in the previous session.

Hong Kong stocks drop

Hong Kong opened lower Thursday as forecast-beating US data added to recent worries that the Federal Reserve could lift interest rates again.

The Hang Seng Index dipped 0.07 percent, or 12.50 points, to 18,437.48.

The Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.19 percent, or 5.87 points, to 3,152.20, while the Shenzhen Composite Index on China’s second exchange eased 0.21 percent, or 4.14 points, to 1,967.45.