Asian Shares Mostly Lower Ahead Of U.S. Inflation Report

Asian stocks ended mostly lower on Wednesday as investors braced for key U.S. inflation data due later in the day that could influence the outlook for interest rates.

The CPI reading is expected to show that inflation accelerated in August from the prior month on the back of higher fuel prices and strong consumer spending.

The dollar steadied in Asian trading and gold edged lower, while oil prices held near ten-month highs, drawing support from upbeat outlooks published by OPEC and the EIA.

Chinese stocks closed lower even as property stocks logged strong gains after embattled developer Country Garden won approval from its creditors to extend the maturity of one more onshore bond.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index dropped 0.5 percent to 3,123.07, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index slipped marginally to 18,009.22.

Japanese stocks ended a range-bound session modestly lower after August producer prices data came in only slightly below economists’ estimates.

Investors also looked ahead to next week’s Bank of Japan policy meeting after Governor Kazuo Ueda signaled an early end to negative interest rates.

The Nikkei 225 Index slipped 0.2 percent to 32,706.52, while the broader Topix Index finished marginally lower at 2,378.64.

SoftBank Group, Recruit Holdings and IHI lost 2-3 percent. Among the top gainers, lender Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group rallied 3.1 percent.

Seoul stocks ended nearly unchanged, with the Kospi finishing marginally lower at 2,534.70 after tech stocks plunged on Wall Street overnight led by Apple and Oracle.

Automakers advanced after Hyundai Motor and its labor union reached a tentative wage agreement without a strike. Hyundai Motor jumped 1.9 percent and its smaller affiliate Kia added 1 percent.

Australian markets ended lower as investors awaited August unemployment data, due on Thursday, for further cues on rate action by the Reserve Bank of Australia.

The benchmark S&P ASX 200 Index fell 0.7 percent to 7,153.90 and the broader All Ordinaries Index settled 0.8 percent lower at 7,345.70.

While miners led losses, energy stocks posted modest gains as oil prices hit 10-month highs on supply tightness.

Across the Tasman, New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 Index rose 0.5 percent to 11,357.12.

U.S. stocks ended lower overnight as surging oil prices deepened worries about inflation and Oracle issue weak guidance.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite lost 1 percent, the S&P 500 slid 0.6 percent and the Dow finished marginally lower.

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