Monday, September 26

Asian stocks gain ahead of US inflation report

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BEIJING (AP) — Asian stocks followed Wall Street higher on Tuesday ahead of data traders hope will show surging US inflation eased in August, reducing pressure for more interest rate hikes.

Shanghai, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Sydney advanced. Oil prices edged lower.

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Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index gained 1.1% on Monday for its fourth daily rise.

Investors were waiting for US government data they hope would say inflation peaked at a four-decade high of 9.1% in June and has fallen further after declining to 8.5% in July.

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Such a decline might help the Federal Reserve avoid having to raise interest rates further to a level that might tip the US economy into recession.

The report “will likely show pricing pressure relief but will not change the Fed from maintaining an aggressive stance,” Edward Moya of Oanda said in a report.

The Shanghai Composite Index gained less than 0.1% to 3,253.92 and the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo added 0.2% to 28,614.53. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong rose 0.4% to 19,442.89.

The Kospi in Seoul soared 2.9% to 2,452.69 and Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 rose 0.7% to 7,013.70.

India’s Sensex opened up 0.6% at 60,504.83. New Zealand declined while Southeast Asian markets gained.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 rose to 4,110.41. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.7% to 32,381.34. The Nasdaq composite rallied 1.3% to 12,266.41.

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On Wednesday, the US government is due to report August inflation at the wholesale level.

Fed officials have affirmed support for substantial rate hikes and to keep borrowing costs elevated for long enough to make sure inflation is extinguished.

Investors hope receding inflation pressures might prompt the Fed to back off. Similar hopes earlier were dashed when chair Jerome Powell said in August that rates would stay high.

Surveys show traders expect the Fed this month to raise rates for the fifth time this year and by 0.75 percentage points, three times its usual margin. Then, traders expect the US central bank to hold rates steady through the first half of 2023.

In energy markets, benchmark US crude gained 14 cents to $87.92 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 99 cents to $87.78 on Monday. Brent crude, the price basis for international oil trading, added 9 cents to $94.09 per barrel in London. It gained $1.16 the previous session to $94.

The dollar eased to 142.11 yen from Monday’s 142.73 yen. The euro rose to $1.0150 from $1.0117.

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