Asian stocks were mixed on Wednesday ahead of U.S. inflation data offering a glimpse at how the world’s largest economy is recovering.
The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo rose 0.7% to 28,069.28 and the Shanghai Composite Index added 0.1% to 3,532.23. The Kospi in South Korea gave up 0.3% to 3,234.37, however. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was up 0.5% at 26,724.99. Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 advanced 0.4% to 7,594.50. The benchmark of New Zealand rose but that of Singapore and Indonesia fell. Analysts are expecting the latest U.S. headline inflation rate, due Wednesday, to grow at a slower pace of 5.3% in July from a year earlier. This is slightly lower than June’s 5.4%. “A higher-than-expected reading may suggest inflation being more persistent and increase the risk of an earlier tapering timeline from the Fed,” said Jun Rong Yeap of IG. Where the price increases lie matters, too. While the previous highlights were air travel fares and used cars, the larger determinant for inflation may be food and housing.
Traders will watch for the continued growth of food and housing prices, Yeap said. They are also contending with the coronavirus delta variant’s spread in Asia, which has resulted in travel restrictions being reimposed in China. Parts of Japan, including Tokyo, the capital, remain under a state of emergency. Over on Wall Street, financial and industrial companies helped lift the market, amid a pullback in technology stocks. The S&P 500 recovered from an early slip and added 0.1% to 4,436.75. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.5% to 35,264.67. The tech-heavy Nasdaq slipped 0.5% to 14,788.09. Banks made some of the strongest gains as bond yields edged higher. Banks benefit from higher yields, which allow them to charge higher interest rates on loans. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 1.35% from 1.31% late Monday.
In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude lost 13 cents to $68.16 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the price standard for international oils, shed 12 cents to $70.51 per barrel in London. The dollar rose to 110.64 yen from Tuesday’s 110.54 yen. The euro advanced to $1.1729 from $1.1727. “A strong reading in the headline and core U.S. Consumer Price Index could keep supporting the USD in the short term,” Anderson Alves of ActivTrades said in a report. “It might put some pressure on U.S. yields, which could change the global market flows for the weeks ahead as traders might have to review U.S. inflation expectations and reprice the Fed’s future actions,” he added.