A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) at the start of trading on Monday following Friday’s steep decline in global stocks over fears of the new omicron Covid variant on December 20, 2021 in New York City.
Spencer Platt | Getty Images

LONDON — Global markets were on a bumpy ride on Thursday as persistent inflationary pressure and fears of a faster-than-expected rise in U.S. interest rates look set to weigh on riskier assets.

Shares in Asia-Pacific fell sharply on Thursday, following in the footsteps of the U.S. overnight. The tech-heavy Nasdaq dropped more than 3% to notch its biggest one-day loss since February, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average registered its first decline of 2022.

European stocks, meanwhile, are expected to open sharply lower later on Thursday, extending the global slump.

It comes at a time when market participants are already deeply concerned about the rapid global spread of the highly infectious omicron Covid variant, with several countries reporting record daily infections in the last 24 hours.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 dipped almost 3% as the dash to get out of tech stocks continued to hit high-profile companies. Japan’s Sony Group was last seen trading down over 5.2%.

Australian stocks also saw heavy losses as the S&P/ASX 200 fell 2.7%. In mainland China, the Shanghai composite declined 0.25% while the Shenzhen component slipped 0.1%.

Read more: Powell says Fed will discuss speeding up bond-buying taper at December meeting

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded 1.3% lower.


The losses come after minutes from the Federal Reserve’s key December meeting were released on Wednesday. The summary showed the central bank discussed reducing its balance sheet in another move to aggressively dial back its pandemic-era easy monetary policy.

The Fed’s plan to reduce the number of Treasurys and mortgage-backed securities it holds comes as it is already tapering its bond purchases and is set to hike interest rates after the taper concludes.

The 10-year U.S. Treasury yield topped 1.7% following the release of the minutes. On Thursday, it was trading at 1.7246% around 3 a.m. ET. Yields move inversely to prices.

Elsewhere, oil prices lost ground on Thursday morning. International benchmark Brent crude futures traded at $80.32 a barrel, around 0.6% lower, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate futures stood at $77.38, down almost 0.65%.

— CNBC’s Eustance Huang & Jeff Cox contributed to this report.