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Asian Shares Finish Mixed as US Inflation Rises

By Investors Hub

Asian stocks ended mixed on Tuesday as commodity prices retreated and investors awaited U.S. consumer inflation due later in the day to gauge the outlook for future interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve.

Chinese shares ended lower to snap a three-day winning streak after the country unveiled a massive cabinet reshuffle plan, including the merger of its banking and insurance regulators to better handle financial risks.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index slid 15.42 points or 0.5 percent to 3,311.28, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index closed marginally higher in choppy trading.

Japanese shares rose for a fourth straight day as a softer yen helped lift exporters, offsetting weakness in steelmakers and automakers. The Nikkei 225 Index climbed 144.07 points or 0.7 percent to 21,968.10, and the broader Topix index closed 0.6 percent higher at 1,751.03.

Canon rose 0.3 percent and Sony gained over 1 percent, while Honda Motor shed 0.8 percent and Nippon Steel declined 0.7 percent. Oil firm Inpex lost 1.7 percent and Japan Petroleum Exploration tumbled 2.2 percent.

Australian shares closed lower amid broad-based selling as commodity prices fell and data on business confidence and new home loan approvals disappointed investors.

Business confidence in Australia ebbed in January, the latest survey from National Australia Bank revealed with an index score of +9. The total number of new home loans fell a seasonally adjusted 1.1 percent sequentially in January, official data showed.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 Index dropped 21.40 points or 0.4 percent to 5,974.70, while the broader All Ordinaries Index ended down 24.30 points or 0.4 percent at 6,077.10.

Miners BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals Group fell 1-3 percent while steelmaker BlueScope Steel declined 1.5 percent. Gold miner Newcrest dropped 1.9 percent on brokerage downgrades.

Santos and Oil Search fell about 1 percent after crude oil prices declined more than 1 percent overnight. The big four banks ended down between 0.2 percent and 0.4 percent.

Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan.

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