Asian shares rise as inflation concerns fade

Hong Kong — Asian shares climbed in morning trade on Tuesday, tracking a Wall Street rally overnight, while the dollar held near a fourth-month low as investors tempered fears about inflation-driven rate hikes.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 1% at a two-week high, after US stocks ended the previous session with mild gains.

Australian shares were up 0.69%, while Japan’s Nikkei stock index rose 0.6%.

Chinese stocks hit a 2½-month high on financial services, consumer and tourism gains in morning trade. The blue-chip CSI300 index jumped 1.89%, while the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index advanced 1.39%, reaching their highest levels since early March.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 1.05%.

“Markets were buoyed as data flow didn’t live up to the strong-inflation narrative, and amid repeated guidance from senior central bank figures that the current rise in inflation is temporary,” ANZ analysts wrote in a note.

The US national activity index reading of 0.24 against expectations above 1, along with dovish comments from Federal Reserve speakers, helped support the view that policy will remain on hold for some time. Still, after global service sector surveys showed strong growth last Friday, all eyes will be on the release of US personal consumption data on Thursday, the Fed’s preferred inflation measure.

Overnight, Wall Street closed higher, spurred by gains in tech stocks, with the sector’s majors Apple up 1.33% and Microsoft up 2.29%.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.54% while the S&P 500 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite gained 0.99% and 1.41%, respectively.

Treasury yields, which fell on Monday after a few Fed officials affirmed their support to keep monetary policy accommodative for some time, were little changed. The yield on benchmark 10-year Treasury notes was at 1.608%, near a two-week low.

“I think there will come a time when we can talk more about changing the parameters of monetary policy, I don’t think we should do it when we’re still in the pandemic,” Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis President James Bullard said on Monday.

Digital currencies bounced back on Monday after last week’s crypto rout, regaining ground lost during a weekend sell-off on news of China’s clampdown on mining and trading of cryptocurrencies.

After shedding 13% on Sunday, bitcoin, the world’s largest cryptocurrency, was last down 1.45% on Tuesday at about $38,252.

By early Tuesday, the dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of currencies of other trading partners, edged down to 89.776, just above a four-month low. The European single currency was up 0.1% on the day at $1.2222, having gained 1.7% in a month.

US crude ticked up 0.21% to $66.19 a barrel. Brent crude rose to $68.7 a barrel. Gold was slightly lower. Spot gold traded at $1,876.44 an ounce.