Most Asian markets push higher as US inflation data looms

Most Asian markets push higher as US inflation data looms

Attention is now on the release of US consumer prices data that is due later in the day
Attention is now on the release of US consumer prices data that is due later in the day. Photo: MOHD RASFAN / AFP
Source: AFP

Asian markets mostly rose Tuesday following the previous day's sell-off, with focus on the release of US inflation data that could play a key role in the Federal Reserve's decision-making on cutting interest rates.

The broadly upbeat performance came despite a tepid performance on Wall Street, and with analysts warning the recent rally across equities could stall as investors lock in profits and assess the outlook for monetary policy.

There is a lot of nervousness on trading floors ahead of the February consumer price index report due later in the day after a surprise uptick in January that dented hopes the central bank would begin cutting rates sooner than later.

Futures traders are now betting on three reductions this year, compared with the six forecast at the start of the year.

"It is imperative to avoid a repeat of the last CPI release," said SPI Asset Management's Stephen Innes.

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Most Asian markets fall after strong US data, eyes on inflation

"Another report similar to January’s could raise doubts about the Fed’s rate cut wisdom in 2024. If the inflation dragon shows up again, it will not sit well with risk appetite."

In early trade, Hong Kong pressed ahead with its recent advance, helped by fresh buying of tech firms and following above-forecast Chinese inflation data at the weekend that soothed worries about the country's economy.

There were also gains in Sydney, Seoul, Singapore, Taipei and Manila.

However, Tokyo fell again as speculation swirls that the Bank of Japan will next week shift away from its ultra-loose monetary policy that has helped strengthen the yen.

Shanghai and Wellington also fell.

Traders brushed off a broadly negative day on Wall Street, where investors have pushed equities to multiple record highs this year, and analysts suggested the rally could peter out.

Read also

China consumer prices rise in February for first time in six months

"Stocks are likely overdue for some consolidation or even an extended period of modest declines at some point in the year," Anthony Saglimbene at Ameriprise said.

"Without a meaningful shift in the fundamental picture, we suspect investors would welcome such a downdraft and treat the event as a buying opportunity."

The prospect of US interest rates coming down this year has played a role in pushing bitcoin to new record highs, with the cryptocurrency peaking at $72,880.

Moves by US authorities and now regulators in Britain to allow exchange-traded funds (ETFs) for the unit have also provided support, opening it up to new classes of investors.

Key figures around 0230 GMT

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.6 percent at 38,586.92 (break)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: UP 0.6 percent at 16,685.45

Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 0.6 percent at 3,048.87

Dollar/yen: UP at 147.30 yen from 146.96 yen

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Asian markets join rally after Wall St, European records

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.0933 from $1.0929 on Monday

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2819 from $1.2812

Euro/pound: UP at 85.30 pence from 85.28 pence

West Texas Intermediate: UP 0.2 percent at $78.08 per barrel

Brent North Sea Crude: UP 0.2 percent at $82.41 per barrel

New York - Dow: UP 0.1 percent at 38,769.66 (close)

London - FTSE 100: UP 0.1 percent at 7,669.23 (close)

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Source: AFP

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