Asian stocks inched higher in cautious trading on Wednesday as investors awaited the release of a highly anticipated U.S. inflation report later in the day.
Economists forecast headline inflation accelerated to 8.8 percent year-on-year in June, marking a 40-year high.
The dollar was firm against its peers, while oil steadied after sliding below $100 a barrel on Tuesday amid escalating fears about an economic slowdown.
Chinese shares finished marginally higher despite renewed COVID-19 travel curbs in the country. The Shanghai Composite Index inched up 0.1 percent to 3,284.29. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fluctuated before ending 0.2 percent lower at 20,797.95.
China’s exports grew at their fastest pace in five months in June, while imports rose at a slower pace, customs data showed today.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index rose 0.5 percent to 26,478.77 after having fallen nearly 2 percent in the previous session. The broader Topix ended 0.3 percent higher at 1,888.85, with chipmakers and airline stocks pacing the gainers.
Heavyweight SoftBank Group rallied 2.4 percent after reports that the startup investor was in talks with Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund for the sale of Fortress Investment Group.
Australian markets eked out modest gains as financials advanced, offsetting losses in the energy sector. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index edged up 0.2 percent to 6,621.60, while the broader All Ordinaries Index closed 0.3 percent higher at 6,807.80.
South Korea’s Kospi gained 0.5 percent to finish at 2,328.61 after the Bank of Korea raised its key rate by 50 basis points, the biggest increase since the bank adopted its current policy system in 1999, to curb inflation.
New Zealand shares closed on a flat note after the country’s central bank lifted its benchmark interest rate by the same amount to 2.5 percent.
Taiwan’s Weighted Index closed 2.7 percent higher after Taiwan’s finance ministry said it would activate its stock stabilization fund.
U.S. stocks ended lower overnight as investors braced for a big week of economic data and corporate earnings reports.
The S&P 500 gave up 0.9 percent to extend losses into a third day as Treasury yield inversion stoked recession worries. The Dow dropped 0.6 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite lost 1 percent.
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