Asian stocks turned in a mixed performance on Friday, as U.S. bond yields eased despite data showing soaring U.S. consumer prices in May.
Investors bet spiking inflation would be temporary and the Federal Reserve will maintain its ultra-loose monetary policy for some time.
Chinese shares fell after data showed the country’s broader credit growth slowed in May. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index dropped 21.11 points, or 0.6 percent, to 3,589.75, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index ended up 103.25 points, or 0.4 percent, at 28,842.13.
Japanese shares edged lower on lingering worries about the pace of the domestic economic recovery and fresh concerns over potential tapering by the Federal Reserve. The Nikkei 225 Index ended marginally lower at 28,948.73, while the broader Topix closed 0.1 percent lower at 1,954.02.
Banks and cyclicals led losses. Machinery maker Kubota slumped 4.5 percent and Komatsu tumbled 3.2 percent. Toshiba gave up 1.6 percent after a probe revealed the company sought the government’s help to influence a shareholder vote.
Tech stocks such as Advantest and Tokyo Electron eked out modest gains, while drug maker Eisai soared 7 percent after a sharp fall in the previous session.
Australian markets recovered from early losses to end the day slightly higher as Melbourne exited the lockdown The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index ended up 9.80 points, or 0.1 percent, at 7,312.30, while the broader All Ordinaries Index inched up 18.40 points, or 0.2 percent, to 7,577.20.
Gold Miners Evolution Mining, Newcrest, Northern Star Resources and Regis Resources surged 3-4 percent as gold prices spiked overnight after U.S. inflation data.
Tech stocks also posted broad-based gains, with Afterpay and Appen climbing 4-6 percent. Avita soared 10.4 percent after the U.S. FDA approved the expanded use of the biotech’s flagship Recell skin system.
Banks ended lower, with ANZ and Westpac falling over 1 percent. Wealth manager AMP rose 1.3 percent. Woodside Petroleum and Santos rose about 1 percent after oil prices hit two-year highs. Casino operator Crown Resorts lost 1.5 percent as Victoria State widened an inquiry into its business practices.
Seoul stocks advanced as inflationary concerns eased ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve policy meeting next week. The Kospi climbed 24.68 points, or 0.8 percent, to settle at 3,249.32 despite Bank of Korea Governor Lee Ju-yeol signaling his intention to tighten monetary policy. Among the top gainers, SK Hynix rallied 4.1 percent and LG Chem surged 5.3 percent.
New Zealand shares eked out modest gains after SkyCity Entertainment upgraded its full-year profit forecast. Shares of the casino operator rose 1.4 percent, while the benchmark NZX-50 Index ended up 32.38 points, or 0.3 percent, at 12,550.39.
The manufacturing sector in New Zealand expanded at a faster pace in May, the latest survey from BusinessNZ revealed, with a Performance of Manufacturing Index score of 58.6, up from the downwardly revised 58.3 in April.
U.S. stocks rose overnight as investors digested separate data showing another leap in consumer prices and a drop in unemployment benefits for the sixth straight week.
The Labor Department said consumer prices rose an annual 5 percent in May, marking the highest annual inflation rate in nearly 13 years.
The Dow inched up 0.1 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite gained 0.8 percent, while the S&P 500 added half a percent to reach a new record closing high.
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