Markets

Asian stocks mixed as investors await US inflation data

PTI Beijing | Updated on September 14, 2021

Fed officials to keep low interest rates until recovery

Asian stock markets were mixed Tuesday as investors waited for an update on US inflation that has been stronger than expected.

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

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

Investors were watching for August inflation data due out Tuesday. Headline inflation stands above 5 per cent as consumer and business activity revives.

Temporary price surge

The price spike has prompted fears the Federal Reserve might feel pressure to roll back easy credit and other stimulus. But Fed officials indicate they believe the surge is temporary and they will keep interest rates low until a recovery is established.

“The Fed has generally stuck to its transitory inflation view, but we think that risks may be tilted to the upside,” said Eugene Leow of DBS in a report. “In any case, excessively loose monetary policy may not increase output or employment but may worsen price pressures and distort market signals further.” The Shanghai Composite Index lost less than 0.1 per cent to 3,712.05 while the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo gained 0.4 per cent to 30,562.42. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong sank 0.3 per cent to 25,745.35.

The Kospi in Seoul rose 0.9 per cent to 3,155.49 while Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 lost 0.2 per cent to 7,410.40.

New Zealand retreated while Southeast Asian markets gained.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 rose 0.2 per cent 4,468.73, boosted by bank, energy and communications stocks. The S&P 500 was coming off its biggest weekly drop in three months.

Trading on Wall Street is choppy as investors try to figure out how the economy will develop as the spread of Covid-19 infection’s more contagious delta variant and measures to contain it hurt consumer spending and job growth.

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

In energy markets, benchmark US crude gained 42 cents to $70.87 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract gained 73 cents on Monday to $70.45. Brent crude, used to price international oils, advanced 40 cents to $73.91 per barrel in London. It added 59 cents the previous session to $73.51 a barrel.

The dollar rose to 110.07 yen from Monday's 110.02 yen. The euro advanced to $1.1817 from $1.1804.

Published on September 14, 2021

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