The major Asia-Pacific stock indexes closed mostly higher on Thursday, as investors positioned themselves ahead of the release of a U.S. consumer inflation report for May.
Japan’s Nikkei ended higher on economic rebound hopes. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng ended slightly lower as investors awaited the U.S. inflation data. South Korean stocks ended higher on foreign buying. Shares in China rose as inflation fears eased, and in Australia, technology and banking stocks were strong.
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In Japan, the Nikkei 225 Index settled at 28958.56, up 97.76 or +0.34%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng finished at 28738.88, down 3.75 or -0.01% and South Korea’s KOSPI Index closed at 3224.64, up 8.46 or +0.26%.
China’s benchmark Shanghai Index settled at 3610.86, up 19.46 or +0.54% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index finished at 7302.50, up 32.30 or +0.44%.
Japan’s Nikkei Ends Higher on Economic Rebound Hopes
Japan’s Nikkei Index closed higher on Thursday, as shipping firms rose on prospects of more economic reopenings and drugmakers were boosted by reports of government support.
Signs that more economies are reopening amid a steady vaccine rollout underpinned shipping firms, with Nippon Yusen jumping 3.65% to be the biggest gainer on the Nikkei.
Japan plans to finish vaccinating all citizens who have applied for shots by October-November, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said during a debate between party leaders on Wednesday.
China Stocks End Higher as Inflation Fears Ease
China stocks ended higher on Thursday, as regulators played down inflation worries and as Sino-U.S. talks helped underpin sentiment.
China’s central bank governor said inflation is “basically under control”, and monetary policy would be kept steady, in comments a day after concerns over inflationary pressures were fanned by data showing the fastest rise in factory-gate prices in 12 years.
In other news, top U.S. and Chinese commerce officials spoke by telephone and agreed to promote healthy trade and cooperate over differences, China’s commerce ministry said on Thursday, the latest high-level exchange as the countries spar over disagreements.
Australia Shares Rise on Tech, Banking Stocks as Focus Shifts to US Inflation
Australian shares rose on Thursday, led by technology and banking stocks, while global markets closely watched for U.S. inflation data for clues on how soon the Federal Reserve will start tapering its massive stimulus.
Technology stocks were the best performers on the benchmark index, jumping 2% to close at a more than one-month high. Banks rose 0.4%, with three of the so-called “Big Four” closing in positive territory.
In commodity-related shares, domestic gold stocks recorded gains, even as bullion prices remained largely subdued, with investors turning cautious ahead of the U.S. inflation data and a European Central Bank meeting.
Energy stocks fell 1.1% and capped gains on the index, as oil prices fell on weaker-than-expected fuel demand.