Asian stock markets were mostly higher Tuesday ahead of a U.S. inflation update and a Federal Reserve decision on another possible interest rate hike.
Shanghai declined while Tokyo and Hong Kong advanced. Oil prices rebounded from Monday’s plunge.
Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index rose 0.9% to a 14-month high ahead of the release of U.S. inflation figure Tuesday. Forecasters expect it to show inflation eased in May but still was double the Fed’s 2% target despite interest rate hikes to cool business activity.
Traders hope the Fed will skip another rate increase when its monthly board meeting ends Wednesday, but that might be complicated if inflation is higher than expected. Central banks in Europe and Japan also are due to meet this week to discuss possible rate hikes.
The Fed’s benchmark lending rate is at a 16-year high, which has led to a contraction in manufacturing activity and three high-profile bank failures.
“The bull market rally looks like it doesn’t want to stop,” said Edward Moya of Oanda in a report. “Wall Street appears confident that the Fed will not be delivering its 11th straight rate hike this week.”
The Shanghai Composite Index lost less than 0.1% to 3,227.57 after China’s central bank lowered its one-week lending rate for the first time since last summer. That appeared to reflect official concern about the health of China’s economic recovery after growth in factory and consumer activity weakened.
The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo surged 1.8% to 33,018.65 and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong advanced 0.5% to 19,495.06.
The Kospi in South Korea added 0.2% to 2,635.28 and Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 was 0.2% higher at 7,135.30.
New Zealand, Bangkok and Indonesia advanced. Singapore declined.
On Wall Street, the S&P 500 rose Monday to 4,338.93 and its highest close since April 2022.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.6% to 34,066.33. The Nasdaq composite rallied 1.5% to 13,461.92.
High-growth stocks, seen by investors as some of the biggest beneficiaries of lower rates, led the market Monday. Tech stocks alone accounted for more than half the S&P 500’s gain, powered by gains of at least 1.5% for both Microsoft and Apple.
Forecasters expect Tuesday’s inflation update to show consumer prices rose 4.1% over a year earlier last month. That would be down from April’s 4.9% and last June’s peak above 9% but more than double the Fed target of 2%.
Two Fed board members have said the Fed should hold off on a rate increase this week while it gathers data on the impact of previous hikes.
On Monday, Switzerland’s UBS said it has completed its takeover of rival Credit Suisse in a government-arranged rescue combining the country’s two largest banks.
In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude rose 26 cents to $67.38 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $3.05 on Monday to $67.12. Brent crude, the price basis for international oil trade, gained 43 cents to $72.27 per barrel in London. It lost $2.95 the previous session to $71.84.
The dollar declined to 139.52 yen from Monday’s 139.62 yen. The euro advanced to $1.0796 from $1.0756.