Asian stocks fall after Australia inflation accelerates

BEIJING (AP) — Asian stock markets fell Wednesday after Australian inflation increased, highlighting global pressure for prices to rise, while investors looked ahead to U.S. economic growth data due out this week.

Shanghai, Tokyo and Hong Kong all retreated.

Wall Street’s S&P 500 index rose 0.2% on Tuesday to its second high in two days, driven by strong earnings reports by some major companies.

Australia’s government reported its underlying inflation rate rose by 0.7 percentage points to 2.1% in the quarter ending in September. Fuel costs rose by a record 7.1%.

Investors worry rising inflation as economies recover from the coronavirus pandemic might put pressure on central banks to roll back economic stimulus that is boosting stock prices.

“A jump in Australian core inflation highlighted intensifying cost pressures in the global economy,” said Anderson Alves of ActivTrades in a report.

Investors were waiting for U.S. economic growth data due out Thursday that might influence whether the Federal Reserve changes its timeline for reducing stimulus.

The Shanghai Composite Index lost 1% to 3,562.12 and the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo sank 0.6% to 28,946.61. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong lost 1.7% to 25,592.20.

The Kospi in Seoul shed 0.7% to 3,026.57 while the S&P-ASX 200 in Sydney was unchanged at 7,443.80.

New Zealand and Jakarta retreated while Singapore gained.

The S&P 500 rose 8.31 points to 4,574.79. The index is up 21.8% for the year. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 15.73 points to 35,756.88. The Nasdaq composite added 9.01 points to 15,235.71.

UPS jumped 6.9% for the biggest gain in the S&P 500 on stronger third-quarter profits than expected due to higher shipping rates. Hasbro rose 3.2% after the maker of Transformers, My Little Pony and other toys reported solid financial results.

Chipmaker Nvidia rose 6.7%. Health care stocks and a mix of companies that rely on consumer spending for goods and services also made solid gains. UnitedHealth Group rose 1.2% and Amazon.com rose 1.7%.

Facebook slid 3.9% after giving investors a weak sales forecast.

General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co., Boeing Co. and Coca-Cola Cos. were due to report Wednesday. Apple Inc. and Amazon Inc. follow on Thursday.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude lost 47 cents to $84.18 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 89 cents on Tuesday to $84.65. Brent crude, the price basis for international oils, shed 33 cents to $85.32 per barrel in London. It closed 41 cents higher the previous session at $86.40.

The dollar declined to 114.03 yen from Tuesday’s 114.17 yen. The euro advanced to $1.1601 from $1.1598.

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