Asian stock markets rose Wednesday as investors waited for U.S. inflation data some worry might lead to more interest rate hikes.
U.S. futures edged higher and oil prices rebounded from Tuesday’s plunge but stayed below US$100 per barrel.
Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index declined Tuesday ahead of the government’s release of data on June consumer prices. A fresh round of company results is due this week.
Investors worry U.S. and European central bank action to cool inflation that is running at a four-decade high might derail global economic growth. The Federal Reserve raised its key interest rate by 0.75 percentage points last month, triple its usual margin, and two members of its rate-setting panel say they support a similar hike this month.
Strong U.S. inflation “may cement the case” for tighter Fed policy, but traders might choose to “buy into the stance of peaking inflation” as oil prices fall, Yeap Jun Rong of IG said in a report.
The Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.3% to 3,290.01 and Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 added 0.4% to 26,437.96. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong rose 0.5% to 20,941.78.
The Kospi in Seoul was 0.6% higher at 2,329.56, while Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 recovered from earlier losses to be flat at 6,606.30. India’s Sensex edged 0.1% higher to 53,938.84. New Zealand advanced while Southeast Asian markets declined.
South Korea’s central bank on Wednesday hiked its policy rate by an unprecedented margin of 0.5 percentage points to 2.25%, seeking to tamp down price increases that have been worsened by soaring energy and commodity prices and disruptions caused by Russia’s war on Ukraine.
New Zealand’s central bank also lifted its benchmark interest rate by half a percentage point to 2.5%. It was the third time this year that the Reserve Bank of New Zealand had lifted the cash rate by 50 basis points, following hikes in April and May. There was also a quarter-percentage-point rise in February.
The S&P 500 lost 0.9% to 3,818.80, declining for a third day. Technology, health care and energy stocks accounted for a big share of losses.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 0.6% to 30,981.33 and the Nasdaq composite slid 0.9% to 11,264.73.
Big companies are due to report second-quarter results over the next few weeks.
Expectations appear subdued. Analysts are forecasting 5.1% growth for companies across the S&P 500, which would be the weakest since the end of 2020, according to FactSet.
U.S. inflation jumped as the economy recovered from the coronavirus pandemic.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine pushed up prices of oil and other commodities. Global manufacturing supply chains were disrupted by Chinese efforts to contain virus outbreaks that temporarily shut down Shanghai and other industrial centres.
The U.S. bond market is flashing warning signals of a possible recession.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury, or the difference between the market price and the payout at maturity, was steady at 2.98%. It is below the two-year Treasury yield, which indicates some investors expect a recession in the next year or two.
In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude gained 19 cents to $96.03 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract plunged $8.25 on Tuesday to $95.84. Brent crude, the price basis for international trading, climbed 27 cents to $99.76 per barrel in London. It fell $7.61 the previous session.
The dollar rose to 137.00 yen from Tuesday’s 136.77 yen. The euro edged down to $1.0035 from $1.0045.