Asian Shares Mixed In Cautious Trading After U.S. Inflation Data

Asian stocks ended mixed on Thursday as a record-setting U.S. inflation report kept pressure on the U.S. central bank to further tighten monetary policy aggressively at its upcoming policy meetings.

The euro hovered just above parity with the dollar and gold dipped, while oil prices moved sideways ahead of U.S. President Joe Biden’s historic visit to Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest crude oil exporter.

Biden will lobby for increased oil production to bring down oil prices while still punishing Vladimir Putin.

Chinese shares fluctuated before finishing marginally lower, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index slipped 0.2 percent to 20,751.21.

Japanese markets advanced as a cheaper yen helped spur bargain hunting in export-oriented shares. The Nikkei 225 Index climbed 0.6 percent to 26,643.39, while the broader Topix closed 0.2 percent higher at 1,893.13.

Panasonic Holdings rose 0.7 percent after the battery maker said it had selected Kansas as the site for a new electric vehicle battery plant. Shipping firms surged, with Mitsui O.S.K. Lines rising 2.4 percent and Kawasaki Kisen climbing 3.9 percent.

Seoul stocks ended slightly lower amid concerns about fast-growing inflation and rate hike woes. The Kospi dipped 0.3 percent to close at 2,322.32.

Australian markets eked out modest gains to extend the winning streak for a third day after official data showed employment rose more than expected in June.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 0.4 percent to 6,650.60, while the broader All Ordinaries Index ended 0.6 percent higher at 6,848.60.

Miners topped the gainers list as iron ore prices rebounded on the back of positive exports data from China. BHP, Rio Tito and Fortescue Metals Group rose 1-2 percent.

Coal miners New Hope and Whitehaven Coal surged 5.7 percent and 6.5 percent, respectively, on reports that China may be preparing to reverse its unofficial ban on Australian coal imports.

Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand’s benchmark NZX-50 Index jumped 0.7 percent to end at 11,187.97 on optimism that aggressive interest rate hikes will help bring spiraling inflation under control.

Auckland International Airport rallied 2.2 percent after the country’s biggest gateway reported improved passenger volumes for May.

U.S. stocks ended lower overnight as data showed consumer inflation reached 9.1 percent in June, its highest rate in over 40 years, and the Fed’s economic survey highlighted growing recession fears.

The major averages ended firmly in negative territory but well off their worst levels. The Dow slipped 0.7 percent, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite eased 0.2 percent and the S&P 500 gave up half a percent.

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