Asian Shares Advance As Investors Await U.S. Inflation Data

Asian stocks rose on Tuesday, the dollar slipped, and Treasury bond yields remained pressured as investors remained convinced that key U.S. inflation data due later in the day would show an easing in price pressures on an annual basis.

Gold edged higher in Asian trading on dollar weakness, while oil prices dropped around 1 percent after the U.S. government announced it would release more crude from its Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) at a time when U.S. crude markets are flush with supply.

Chinese shares eked out modest gains after reports U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is considering meeting top Chinese diplomat Wang Yi at the Munich Security Conference this week.

The Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.3 percent to 3,293.28, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index reversed course to end 0.2 percent lower at 21,113.76.

Japanese shares rose notably, and the yen advanced after the formal nomination of academic Kazuo Ueda as the next Bank of Japan governor.

Investors shrugged off weak data showing that the economy rebounded much less than expected in the fourth quarter.

The Nikkei 225 Index climbed 0.6 percent to 27,602.77, while the broader Topix ended 0.8 percent higher at 1,993.09. Citizen Watch Co. soared 16.2 percent on share buyback news.

Seoul stocks snapped a three-day losing streak amid buying by institutions and foreign investors. The Kospi gained 0.5 percent to settle at 2,465.64.

LG Electronics soared 5.7 percent on rosy expectations of its electric vehicle component business while Samsung SDI and SK Hynix jumped 2-3 percent.

Australian markets ended slightly higher after three consecutive sessions of losses. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index inched up 0.2 percent to 7,430.90, while the broader All Ordinaries Index gained 0.2 percent to settle at 7,628.60.

Tech and telecommunications stocks topped the gainers list, with Telstra rising 1 percent to a near one-year high. Wisetech Global and Afterpay owner Block both added around 3.1 percent.

Fiber cement maker James Hardie Industries slumped 4.3 percent after cutting its profit guidance for the full year. Likewise, safety garment manufacturer Ansell plunged 8.7 percent after lowering its earnings per share guidance amid falling sales.

Across the Tasman, New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX-50 Index finished marginally lower at 12,074.47.

U.S. stocks rose sharply overnight after closing out their worst weekly performance of 2023 on Friday.

The Dow and the S&P 500 both climbed around 1.1 percent, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite rallied 1.5 percent despite lingering worries about the outlook for inflation and interest rates.

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