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Asia-Pacific stocks appeared mixed; the U.S. inflation


11 February 2022

Shares in Asia-Pacific were mixed in Friday trade, as investors in the region reacted to a hotter-than-expected U.S. consumer inflation report. The data showed a surprise acceleration in price rises in June, added to expectations that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates at its July 27-28 meeting. The dollar was slightly lower against a basket of currencies, while prices appeared little changed in the region. Shares in Australia and New Zealand were lower, while South Korea, Taiwan, and Indonesia were higher.

Chinese stocks were mixed by the afternoon, with the Shanghai composite up 0.34% and the Shenzhen component down 0.306%. The Hong Kong Hang Seng index was up fractionally. The Shanghai Composite gained nearly 7% since the start of the year. This is on the back of the improved sentiment and hopes that the recent equity-market clampdown in China will reduce the frothiness in the markets.

South Korea’s Kospi dropped 0.29%, with shares of Krafton plunging more than 12%. It followed an 84.8% year-on-year drop in its net profit for Q4. The S&P/ASX 200 declined 0.67% in Australia. In Southeast Asia, the Straits Times index in Singapore rose 0.23%. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares fell 0.65%. On Friday, investors monitored moves in U.S. bond yields. The reading was also higher than Dow Jones estimates of 7.3% for the closely watched inflation gauge.

Overview of mixed shares and currencies

The benchmark U.S. 10-year Treasury yield last sat at 2.0364%. Yields move inversely to prices. The major indexes fell overnight, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average declining 526.48 points to 35,241.58. The S&P 500 cleared 1.82% to 4,504.09. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite faded as it fell 2.2% to 14,185.65.

The U.S. dollar index was 95.914 after recently dropping before bouncing from below 95.5.

The Japanese yen traded at 116.14 per dollar, weaker than levels below 115.9 seen against the greenback yesterday. The Australian dollar was at $0.7139 after recently falling from above 0.73%.

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