Asian shares mixed ahead of US inflation, Lunar New Year

TOKYO — Asian shares were mixed Wednesday with investors adopting a wait-and-see stance ahead of Lunar New Year holidays and the release of U.S. inflation data.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 slipped 0.6 percent to 21,109.29, while Australia's S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.3 percent to 5,841.00. South Korea's Kospi was up 0.8 percent at 2,413.11. Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.7 percent to 30,052.59, but the Shanghai Composite index lost 0.3 percent to 3,174.94. Markets in Southeast Asia were mixed.

U.S. INFLATION: Market players are awaiting the U.S. Labor Department's monthly report on consumer prices, due later in the day. The report takes on added importance since recent swings in financial markets were touched off by worries that inflation might rise too quickly, prompting the Federal Reserve to accelerate monetary tightening.

THE QUOTE: "It certainly feels like the proverbial calm before the storm and rightly so as there are plenty of reasons to be cautious, but whether it warrants the present sense of foreboding in the markets or not, equity investors seem undeterred by the possibility of higher yields," Stephen Innes of OANDA said in a commentary.

JAPAN GDP: Japan's economy grew at a slower than expected 0.5 percent annual pace in the October-December quarter, the eighth straight quarter of expansion. Growth for the entire calendar year was 1.6 percent, up from 0.9 percent in 2016. The preliminary data released Wednesday buttressed economists' expectations that growth will slow in the coming year.

WALL STREET: The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 0.3 percent to 2,662.94. The Dow added 0.2 percent to 24,640.45. The Nasdaq composite gained 0.5 percent to 7,013.51 and the Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks finished up 0.3 percent at 1,494.95. Volatility has increased, with the Dow Jones industrial average twice falling 1,000 points in a day last week, sometimes gaining or losing hundreds of points in a few minutes.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude lost 3 cents to $59.16 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It fell 10 cents to $59.19 a barrel in New York Tuesday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, added 11 cents to $62.83 a barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 107.08 yen from 107.55 yen. The euro climbed to $1.2382 from $1.2351.

____

AP Markets Writer Marley Jay contributed to this report. He can be reached at http://twitter.com/MarleyJayAP

His work can be found at https://apnews.com/search/marley%20jayt

Follow Yuri Kageyama on Twitter at https://twitter.com/yurikageyama

Her work can be found at https://www.apnews.com/search/yuri%20kageyama

Must Read

Fidel Castro thanks Cuba, criticizes Obama, on 90th birthday

Aug 14, 2016

Fidel Castro thanked Cubans for their well-wishes on his 90th birthday and criticized President Barack Obama in a lengthy letter published in state media

UK manufacturers see costs jump in wake of Brexit vote

Aug 16, 2016

Official figures show consumer prices in Britain rose more than expected in July, while the cost of raw materials for manufacturers are mounting as a result of the pound's drop in the wake of the vote to leave the European Union

US home construction climbed to a 6-month high in July

Aug 16, 2016

US home construction climbed to a 6-month high in July, led by a jump in apartment buildings

Search

Obserworld delivers the most accurate and up-to-date world news for the global audience with a thorough research and in-depth interviews. Discover the world through Obserworld.

Contact us: sales[at]obserworld.com