Asian markets rise as investors await US inflation data

BEIJING – Asian stocks rose Wednesday after Wall Street rebounded as investors waited for US inflation data that might influence the pace of Federal Reserve interest rate hikes.

The Nikkei 225 NIK,
+ 1.16%
in Tokyo gained 1%. The Shanghai Composite Index SHCOMP,
+ 0.81%
advanced 0.4% while the Hang Seng HSI,
+ 2.25%
in Hong Kong was 2% higher.

The Kospi 180721,
+ 0.86%
in Seoul rose 1% and Sydney’s S & P / ASX 200 XJO,
+ 1.13%
added 0.8%. Benchmark indexes in Singapore STI,
+ 0.47%,
Taiwan Y9999,
+ 1.12%
and Indonesia JAKIDX,
+ 0.58%

Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 rose 0.8%, recovering from the previous day’s slide.

Investors are waiting for US inflation data Thursday for signs of how quickly the Fed might pull back record-low interest rates and other stimulus to try to cool surging prices. Traders expect at least four rate hikes this year, starting next month.

Wall Street’s rebound “suggests an attempt by the equity bulls to regain some control,” Yeap Jun Rong of IG said in a report. “Much will depend on the upcoming US inflation data to ease some concerns about tightening ahead.”

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 SPX,
+ 0.84%
rose to 4,521.54. The index is now about 5.7% below its Jan. 3 high.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA,
+ 1.06%
gained 1.1% to 35,462.78. The Nasdaq composite COMP,
+ 1.28%
advanced 1.3% to 14,194.45.

Markets have been volatile since Fed officials said in mid-December plans to withdraw stimulus would be accelerated to cool inflation that is at multi-decade highs.

European and other central banks also are looking at when to withdraw stimulus.

The president of the European Central Bank, Christine Lagarde, said this week any rate hikes would be gradual. Investors expect the ECB to adopt a more hawkish policy at its March meeting after the board said last week inflation risks were rising.

Higher interest rates can depress stock prices by dampening economic activity and making it more expensive to borrow money to finance trading.

Economists expect Thursday’s data to show US inflation accelerated to a four-decade high of 7.3% in January.

On Tuesday, the yield on the 10-year US Treasury note, or the difference between its market price and the payout at maturity, rose to 1.96%, its highest level since the start of the pandemic, from Monday’s 1.91%.

In energy markets, benchmark US crude CLH22,
+ 0.28%
gained 11 cents to $ 89.47 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $ 1.96 the previous session to $ 89.36. Brent crude BRNJ22,
+ 0.26%,
the price base for international oils, rose 18 cents to $ 90.96 per barrel in London. It lost $ 1.91 on Tuesday to $ 90.78.

The dollar USDJPY,
declined to 115.36 yen from Tuesday’s 115.54 yen.

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