Asian stocks dip as US inflation looms, tech weakness weighs

  • Stock Market News
Asian stocks dip as US inflation looms, tech weakness weighs Most Asian stocks moved in a flat-to-low range on Wednesday as investors awaited key U.S. inflation data, while Chinese property stocks logged strong gains as embattled developer Country Garden clinched more extensions on its debt payments. 

Asian markets took a weak lead-in from Wall Street, which closed lower overnight on a selldown in technology stocks before the inflation reading. Apple Inc (NASDAQ: AAPL ) also fell nearly 2% after unveiling a new range of iPhones, as its pricing for the range underwhelmed some investors hoping for a sizeable price bump.

 Asian-listed Apple suppliers were a mixed bag, with AAC Technologies (HK: 2018 ) and Luxshare Precision Industry (SZ: 002475 ) losing 0.7% and 1.9%, respectively, while SK Hynix Inc (KS: 000660 ) and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd (KS: 005930 ) rose 1.1% and 0.3%, respectively. 

Camera module maker Sunny Optical Technology Group (HK: 2382 ) rose 3.4%, as Apple also announced a major camera upgrade for its new line of iPhones. 

Broader Asian markets traded flat or lower, with Australia’s ASX 200 index leading regional losses with a 0.9% decline. 

Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 0.3%, as a Reuters poll showed that business confidence in the country’s largest firms declined in early-September, amid growing concerns over a slowdown in China, one of Japan’s biggest export markets. 

Futures for India’s Nifty 50 index pointed to a strong open as data on Tuesday showed consumer inflation grew less than expected in August. The Nifty was also trading close to record highs, amid increasing optimism over the South Asian economy. 

Chinese stocks sink, but property stocks rally 

China’s Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 and Shanghai Composite indexes fell 0.6% each, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed 0.3%.

Sentiment towards China remained largely negative, as a swathe of economic indicators for August painted a weak picture of Asia’s largest economy. This was coupled with a slow rollout of more stimulus measures from Beijing.

But property stocks were among the few bright spots for the day. Beleaguered developer Country Garden Holdings (HK: 2007 ) rallied over 11% after it won approval from some bondholders to extend payments for three years, staving off fears of an imminent default. 

Gains in Country Garden spilled over into other major players, with Sunac China (HK: 1918 ), Shimao Property (HK: 0813 ) and Longfor Properties Co Ltd (HK: 0960 ) up between 2% and 6%. 

US CPI inflation, Fed meeting in focus 

Markets were now focused largely on U.S. consumer price index inflation data, due later in the day. The reading is expected to show that inflation accelerated in August from the prior month, amid increasing fuel prices and strong consumer spending. 

Any increases in U.S. inflation give the Federal Reserve more impetus to hike interest rates, with the central bank set to decide on rates next week. Rising rates bode poorly for risk-driven markets, and are likely to limit capital flows into Asia.

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