Asian Shares Mixed On U.S. Bank Worries, Chinese Inflation Data

Asian stocks ended mixed on Wednesday amid worries about the U.S. banking system and fresh signs of weakening domestic demand in China.

Investors also awaited U.S. consumer and wholesale inflation data due this week for clues on future interest rate hikes.

Economists expect Thursday’s data to show U.S. consumer prices rose by an annual 3.3 percent in July, up from 3 percent in the previous month.

China’s Shanghai Composite Index dropped 0.5 percent to 3,244.49 as weak inflation data revived worries about slowing growth in the world’s second largest economy.

Chinese consumer price inflation fell an annual 0.3 percent in July and the producer price index fell by 4.4 percent – heightening deflation risks and raising fresh concerns about economic recovery.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index finished 0.3 percent higher at 19,246.03 after a choppy session.

The intraday rebound came as China’s slide into inflation and problems at Country Garden, once China’s largest developer, increased calls for more stimulus.

Japanese shares snapped a three-session winning streak as caution gripped markets ahead of the release of U.S. inflation data.

The Nikkei 225 Index fell 0.5 percent to 32,204.33, while the broader Topix Index settled 0.4 percent lower at 2,282.57.

Air conditioning maker Daikin Industries slumped 11.4 percent after its first-quarter earnings fell short of estimates.

Tech investor SoftBank Group lost 3.1 percent after posting a surprise loss. Nikon plummeted 11.2 percent after the camera maker reported a 78 percent drop in its first-quarter net profit.

Seoul stocks rallied to snap a five-day losing streak after comments from a couple of Fed officials suggested that rate hikes could be over. The Kospi jumped 1.2 percent to 2,605.12, marking the first daily gain since August 2.

Samsung Electronics, Naver, LG Electronics, Samsung SDI surged 2-3 percent, while LG Energy Solution soared 5.3 percent.

Australian markets ended modestly higher after Commonwealth posted a record annual profit. The benchmark S&P ASX 200 Index rose 0.4 percent to 7,338.00, while the broader All Ordinaries Index closed 0.3 percent higher at 7,543.40.

Commonwealth rallied 2.6 percent, while peers ANZ, NAB and Westpac climbed 1-2 percent.

Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand’s benchmark S&P NZX-50 Index slipped 0.3 percent to close at 11,838.26.

U.S. stocks ended firmly in the red overnight as China trade data disappointed and Moody’s cut the credit ratings for 10 smaller and midsized lenders and put the credit ratings of six large U.S. banks under review for a possible downgrade.

The Dow dipped half a percent, the S&P 500 shed 0.4 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite gave up 0.8 percent.

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