Asian stocks creep higher ahead of US CPI data, China lags

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Asian stocks creep higher ahead of US CPI data, China lags
Credit: © Reuters. Most Asian stocks rose slightly on Tuesday, recovering a measure of recent losses as investors hunkered down before key U.S. inflation data, while Chinese markets lagged following weak lending activity data. 

Asian markets were nursing steep losses from the prior week, where a string of hawkish Federal Reserve signals and weak earnings had battered sentiment towards risk-driven assets.

Concerns over an economic slowdown in China also weighed, as weak data prints from the country continued to batter sentiment. 

The technology sector was the worst hit by this trend, and saw the largest degree of buying on Tuesday. South Korea’s KOSPI was the best performer in Asia, rallying over 1% as it recovered from a one-week low. 

Gains in tech and automobile stocks helped Japan’s Nikkei 225 add 0.4%, while the broader TOPIX index rose 0.5%. 

Australia’s ASX 200 rose 0.6%, recovering slightly after hitting a 11-day low. The index was also trading close to its worst level in a year. 

Data on Tuesday pointed to more headwinds for the Australian economy, as a private survey showed that consumer sentiment worsened after an interest rate hike by the Reserve Bank. The reading also heralded a retail spending decline in the upcoming holiday season.

Chinese stocks lag as loan activity slows, more data on tap 

China’s Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 and SSEC indexes traded sideways on Tuesday, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell 0.4%. 

Data released on Monday showed that Chinese new loans fell sharply in October from the prior month, albeit at a better-than-expected pace. But outstanding loan growth remained steady, while total social financing slid more than expected, indicating a slowdown in overall liquidity efforts by the government. 

The readings came on the heels of several weak economic indicators for October, and pointed to continued weakness in Asia’s largest economy.

Focus this week is also on readings on industrial activity and retail sales for October, both of which are due on Wednesday.

US CPI inflation in focus after hawkish Fed cues 

Broader Asian markets kept to a tight range, while a slew of holidays in the region also kept trading volumes slim.

Investors were now focused squarely on key U.S. consumer price index data, due later in the day. The reading is expected to show some cooling in inflation through October, after consensus-beating prints for the past two months.

The reading also comes after a string of Federal Reserve speakers signaled that sticky inflation could invite more interest rate hikes by the central bank. This notion was a key point of focus for markets before Tuesday’s reading.

Any signs of more interest rate hikes by the Fed bode poorly for Asian markets, given that tighter monetary conditions limit the amount of foreign capital flowing into the region.  

U.S. stock futures were flat in Asian trade. 


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