Investors await US inflation data, Asian stocks rise

Asian stock markets are mostly higher as investors wait for an update on US inflation which is stronger than expected

Shanghai, Tokyo and Sydney advanced, while Hong Kong retreated.

Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index closed higher, breaking a five-day losing streak.

Investors were watching the inflation data for August. Headline inflation is above 5% on revival of consumer and business activity.

The price hike has prompted fears that the Federal Reserve may feel pressure to roll back easier credits and other incentives that are driving up stock prices. But Fed officials indicated they believe the bounce is temporary and will keep interest rates low until recovery is established.

“The Fed generally sticks to its tentative inflation outlook, but we think risks could be upward sloping,” DBS’s Eugene Leo said in a report. “In any case, excessively loose monetary policy may not increase output or employment, but may worsen price pressures and further distort market signals.”

The Shanghai Composite Index rose less than 0.1% to 3,717.26 and the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo rose 0.5% to 30,603.57. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong fell less than 0.1% to 25,800.87.

The Kospi in Seoul rose 1.1% to 3,162.42, while Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 rose 0.1% to 7,434.20.

India’s Sensex opened 0.4% higher at 58,408.22. New Zealand and Bangkok withdrew while Singapore and Jakarta gained.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 rose 0.2% to 4,468.73, propelled by bank, energy and communications stocks. The S&P 500 was coming in with its biggest weekly drop in three months.

Business is choppy on Wall Street as investors try to figure out how the economy will develop as the spread of the more contagious delta version of the coronavirus and measures to contain it hurt consumer spending and job growth.

US retail sales figures for August are due to be released on Thursday.

In energy markets, benchmark US crude rose 49 cents to $70.94 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 73 cents to $70.45 on Monday. Brent crude, used for the price of international oil, rose 44 cents to $73.95 a barrel in London. It rose 59 cents to $73.51 a barrel in the previous session.

The dollar rose to 110.07 yen from Monday’s 110.02 yen. The euro rose from $1.1804 to $1.1814.


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