Asian shares mixed ahead of US inflation data

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Asian Stock Markets
Us Gains Pushes Higher Asian Shares

Asian stocks ended mixed on Wednesday after the US Senate approved a 1-trillion-dollar infrastructure bill. As Fed officials talk up the prospects of unwinding some of the fiscal stimulus, investors awaited US consumer inflation data later in the day for additional clues on the outlook for monetary policy.

Chinese shares ended on a flat note as Covid-19 cases in the country hit a seven-month high. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index edged up 0.2 per cent to finish at 26,660.16.

Japanese shares extended gains for the fourth straight session as strong earnings from Bridgestone and other firms outweighed concerns over rapidly rising coronavirus cases in the capital.

The Nikkei average rose 182.36 points, or 0.65 per cent, to 28,070.51, closing above 28,000 for the first time since July 16. The broader Topix index gained 0.92 per cent to end at 1,954.08.

Bridgestone soared 5.4 per cent after the tire maker reported strong quarterly earnings and issued an upbeat annual profit outlook. Similarly, Toho Zinc jumped 12.7 per cent after raising its full-year earnings forecasts.

Banks Mitsubishi UFJ Financial and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial rallied around 3 per cent as U.S. bond yields rose to one-month highs after the US Senate passed a 1-trillion-dollar infrastructure bill.

Heavyweight Softbank Group gave up 1.8 per cent after Chief Executive Masayoshi Son said the company would pause Chinese investments.

Australian markets hit a record high as Commonwealth unveiled record 4.4-billion-dollar share buyback after reporting a 20-per-cent rise in full-year profit.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index rose 21.70 points, or 0.29 per cent, to 7,584.30 while the broader All Ordinaries index ended up 24.20 points, or 0.31 per cent, at 7,854.60.

Commonwealth shares advanced 1.5 per cent while the other three big banks gained between 0.7 per cent and 1.2 per cent. Insurance Australia Group fell 2.7 per cent after reporting net loss after tax of 427 million dollars for the period ending June 30, 2021.

Mining heavyweights BHP and Rio Tinto both rose over 1 per cent despite iron ore prices dropping to a three-month low on concerns about weakening Chinese demand.

Iress soared 5.8 per cent after the financial services software group received a revised buyout offer from Sweden-based private-equity firm EQT.
In economic news, consumer confidence in Australia remains weak in August, the latest survey from Westpac Bank showed as its sentiment index dipped 4.4 per cent to a score of 104.1 from 108.8 in July.

Seoul stocks ended lower for the fifth day running as the country posted a record number of coronavirus cases. The daily caseload remains above 1,000 for over a month despite the implementation of a semi-lockdown in the capital area.

The Kospi average dropped 22.57 points, or 0.7 per cent, to settle at 3,220.62.

Samsung Electronics fell 2.1 per cent and SK Hynix gave up 6.2 per cent after market researcher TrendForce said in a report that personal computer DRAM prices will likely fall by up to 5 per cent sequentially in the final quarter of the year due to PC manufacturers’ high inventory.

New Zealand shares ended on a flat note, with the benchmark NZX-50 index closing down 16.16 points, or 0.13 per cent, at 12,748.07.

While heavyweight Fisher & Paykel tumbled as much as 3.5 per cent property stocks such as Goodman Property Trust and Vital Healthcare Property Trust rose about 2 per cent on hopes for strong earnings.

US stocks ended mixed overnight as President Joe Biden’s 1-trillion-dollar infrastructure bill secured a majority vote in the Senate. The package now heads to the House, where it faces an uncertain future.

The Dow rose 0.5 per cent and the S&P 500 inched up marginally to reach new record highs, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite index dropped 0.5 per cent.

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