Asian Shares Mixed Despite Improved Chinese Data

Asian stocks ended mixed on Tuesday as signs that China’s manufacturing slowdown is moderating helped offset fears surrounding high inflation and interest rate hikes.

China’s Shanghai Composite Index rallied 1.2 percent to finish at 3,186.43 after the latest figures showed another month of contraction in services and manufacturing activity though at a reduced pace of decline amid easing COVID-19 curbs and signs of support from authorities.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index climbed 1.4 percent to 21,415.20 as China’s cabinet unveiled a series of new policy measures to bolster the economy and stabilize jobs.

Japanese shares fell on fears of aggressive policy tightening after a senior Fed official called for several more rate hikes to combat ballooning inflation. Higher Treasury yields on the back of record high German inflation data also weighed on markets.

The Nikkei 225 Index dropped 0.3 percent to 27,279.80 in range-bound trading, while the broader Topix closed 0.5 percent lower at 1,912.67.

Tech stocks led losses, while oil explorers climbed as Brent crude futures hit a two-month high of $124 a barrel after EU’s Russia import ban. Japan Petroleum surged 8 percent and Inpex Corp. added 6.2 percent.

Seoul stocks recovered from an early slide to end notably higher as worries over China’s slowdown eased. The Kospi rose 0.6 percent to 2,685.90.

Australian markets fell sharply as hawkish comments from U.S. Federal Reserve governor Christopher Waller sent U.S. yields higher and weighed on the technology sector.

Block Inc. lost 3 percent and WiseTech Global declined 2.7 percent. Banks also posted broad-based declines, while mining and energy stocks ended on a positive note.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index ended 1 percent lower at 7,211.20, snapping a two-session winning streak. The broader All Ordinaries Index closed down 0.9 percent at 7,455.20.

New Zealand shares rallied, with the benchmark NZX-50 Index finishing 1.5 percent higher at 11,308.34. Energy stocks outperformed, with Meridian Energy surging 6.8 percent.

U.S. stock futures edged lower after markets were closed in New York on Monday for Memorial Day.

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