Asian Shares Mixed As Inflation Worries Mount

Asian stocks ended mixed on Thursday after a U.S. consumer inflation report showed the largest annual increase in prices in three decades, stoking concerns over faster monetary policy tightening by the U.S. Federal Reserve.

Chinese shares posted strong gains after new bank lending in October exceeded estimates and media reports suggested that the government would take steps to ease the cash crunch for embattled developers.

Property stocks were boosted after reports that several bondholders had received overdue coupon payments from cash-strapped developer China Evergrande Group.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index jumped 40.32 points, or 1.2 percent, to 3,532.79, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index ended up 254.91 points, or 1 percent, at 25,251.05.

Japanese shares rose as investors awaited an economic stimulus package from newly elected Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. Investors shrugged off data showing that the country’s wholesale inflation hit a four-decade high in October.

The Nikkei 225 Index gained 171.08 points, or 0.6 percent, to finish at 29,277.86, while the broader Topix ended 0.3 percent higher at 2,013.53. Tech stocks topped the gainers list, with Tokyo Electron, Advantest and Screen Holdings rising 1-2 percent.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group rallied 1.9 percent and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing added 0.7 percent.

Meanwhile, Australian markets ended lower for the fourth consecutive session as the latest jobs data showed an unexpected rise in unemployment in October.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index dropped 42 points, or 0.6 percent, to 7,381.90, while the broader All Ordinaries Index ended down 36.20 points, or 0.5 percent, at 7,701.20.

Banks Commonwealth and NAB both fell around 1.6 percent, while energy stocks such as Santos and Woodside Petroleum lost 2-3 percent, tracking overnight losses in crude oil prices.

Mining heavyweights BHP and Rio Tinto jumped 2.6 percent and 1.9 percent, respectively after debt-laden China Evergrande Group averted a destabilizing default. Smaller rival Fortescue Metals Group soared 8.2 percent.

Seoul stocks ended lower for the second straight day as a worrisome report on U.S. consumer price inflation fanned concerns about sooner-than-expected rate hikes.

The Kospi slipped 5.01 points, or 0.2 percent, to settle at 2,925.16. Tech, auto and bio stocks paced the declines, while leading car battery firm LG Chem advanced 2.4 percent.

New Zealand shares ended a choppy session marginally higher after Mainfreight reported that its profit jumped 79 percent during the six months ended September 30.

Shares of the transport operator rallied 2.8 percent, while the benchmark NZX 50 Index closed just above the unchanged line at 13,026.91.

U.S. stocks fell overnight after data showed consumer prices in the country grew at the fastest pace since 1990. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite index lost 1.7 percent, the S&P 500 dropped 0.8 percent and the Dow shed 0.7 percent.

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