Friday, 11 May 2018 03:00

Asian stock markets mostly rise as cooler U.S. inflation reading inspires ‘risk-on’ buying

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The past week’s global stock rebound continued in the Asia Pacific region on Friday, following on fresh gains in the U.S. as worries about aggressively higher interest rates eased.

A report showing a weaker-than-expected increase for U.S. consumer prices in April[1] helped push the dollar DXY, -0.02%[2]   and bond yields lower[3] after recent gains, cooling concerns of a more-aggressive pace of rate increases from the Federal Reserve.

“The inflation reading is a positive setup” for Asian equities, said James Cheo, a senior investment strategist at Bank of Singapore, providing investors “some reassurance” that inflation remains well checked.

Gains of more than 0.5% were seen early in many Asia-Pacific stock indexes, with Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average NIK, +0.90%[4]   up 0.8% despite the dollar’s decline. The WSJ Dollar Index BUXX, +0.01%[5]   drop was the biggest in seven weeks. A stronger yen USDJPY, +0.02%[6]   often pressures Japanese stocks lower.

Meanwhile, Singapore’s Straits Times Index STI, +0.24%[7]   rose 0.5% following Thursday’s underperformance in the wake of a surprise opposition win in elections in neighboring Malaysia. Markets there remain closed until Monday; a U.S.-listed exchange-traded fund of Malaysian stocks [8]rebounded 1.8% following a 6% plunge Wednesday.

Around the region, China’s Shanghai Composite SHCOMP, +0.01%[9]  slipped 0.1%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng HSI, +1.39%[10]  was up 0.9%. In Australia, its leading stock average  XJO, +0.31%[11]  rose 0.3%.

Oil futures CLM8, -0.01%[12]   were little changed in Asia after hitting their highest levels in more than three years[13] Thursday....

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