Asian Shares Follow Wall Street Higher With Inflation Data In Focus

Asian stocks ended broadly higher on Friday as investors braced for key U.S. inflation data due later in the day and next week’s interest rate decision.

The Federal Reserve is widely expected to raise rates by 50 basis points and signal that rate hikes could continue for longer than expected in the face of stubborn inflation.

Chinese shares eked out modest gains, with the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index rising 0.3 percent to 3,206.95 after the government loosened some of the world’s strictest Covid-19 restrictions and inflation data came in line with expectations.

Consumer prices in China were up 1.6 percent year-on-year in November, down from 2.1 percent in October, the National Bureau of Statistics said. Producer prices dropped an annual 1.3 percent versus expectations for a decline of 1.4 percent.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rallied 2.3 percent to 19,900.87, led by gains in the property sector as Sunac China Holdings said it has made significant progress in formulating a restructuring framework with offshore creditors.

Japanese stocks rallied on China reopening optimism and signs that the Fed’s interest rate hikes could soon slow. The Nikkei Index surged 1.2 percent to 27,901.01, marking its biggest daily gain since November 11. The broader Topix jumped 1.0 percent to settle at 1,961.56.

Chip-related Advantest soared 5.8 percent, while Tokyo Electron and Screen Holdings gained around 3 percent each. Technology investor SoftBank Group rose 1.2 percent and cosmetic maker Shiseido added 3.2 percent.

Toshiba Corp spiked 4.4 percent after reports that its preferred bidder Japan Industrial Partners has moved closer to securing financing from banks.

Seoul stocks rose notably, with the Kospi climbing 0.8 percent to finish at 2,389.04. Tech heavyweights Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix jumped 2-3 percent.

Australian markets advanced after three consecutive sessions of losses. The benchmark S&P ASX 200 Index rose 0.5 percent to 7,213.20, while the broader All Ordinaries Index closed half a percent higher at 7,406.30.

Miners topped the gainers list on hopes of revived Chinese demand. Tech stocks also surged, with Block Inc gaining nearly 4 percent. Nitro Software rallied 3.4 percent after receiving a sweetened bid from top shareholder Potentia Capital.

Across the Tasman, New Zealand’s benchmark S&P NZX-50 Index slipped 0.2 percent to close at 11,596.03.

U.S. stocks rebounded overnight after recent selling on concerns about the outlook for interest rates and the economy.

The S&P 500 climbed 0.8 percent to snap a five-day winning streak, the Dow rose 0.6 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite jumped 1.1 percent.

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