Asian stocks down on US rate hike speculation

<p>Speculation grew that a US rate hike was on the cards for September.</p>

Asian stocks were mostly down today (August 6th) as speculation grew that a US rate hike was on the cards for September after the release of strong US economic data.

The Institute for Supply Management said yesterday the US service sector expanded 4.3 per cent in July to a record high, which strengthened the case for an earlier interest rate hike from the Fed, according to analysts.

"With the September FOMC meeting now firmly in the market's sights, there seems a newfound belief that the Fed's mindset has shifted to one of 'We are moving in September, give us a reason why we shouldn't'," IG market strategist Chris Westoon wrote in a note. 

"Federal Reserve governor Jerome Powell took his turn to speak on policy overnight in what was a largely unscheduled speech and, despite sounding a touch more cautious, Dennis Lockhart kept the rate hike momentum going."

South Korea's Kospi lost 0.8 per cent to end the day at 2,013.29 while Australia's ASX 200 slid 1.1 per cent to close down at 5,610.10. China's Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.9 per cent to 3662.00 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index was down 0.6 per cent to 24375.28. Tokyo rose 0.24 per cent to finish at 20,664.64.

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