Asian Stock Markets Mixed as China Data Disappoints

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -
A man looks at an electronic stock board showing Japan’s Nikkei 225 index at a securities firm in Tokyo, Wednesday. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

Asian stock markets were mixed on Wednesday as weaker than expected Chinese inflation data pulled the Shanghai benchmark lower.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 gained 0.3 percent to 19,900.09 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 0.6 percent to 25,045.28. The Shanghai Composite index gave up early gains to sink 0.9 percent to 3,052.79. South Korea’s Kospi fell 1.0 percent to 2,270.12. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 advanced 0.6 percent to 5,875.40.

Moon Jae-in, South Korea’s newly elected liberal president, took office Wednesday. Moon said he would visit North Korea under the right conditions. Domestically, he promised social and economic reforms including creating jobs, curbing excessive power of founding families who control big businesses and ending corruptions between big businesses and politicians. But South Korea’s benchmark Kospi fell for the first time in four sessions, retreating from a record high set on the eve of Tuesday’s election.

Consumer prices rose in April, with inflation at 1.2 percent, but factory-gate producer costs fell slightly from the month before, for the first time in almost a year. The trends suggest weakness underlying a rebound in growth that regulators are already trying to cool.

“Further ahead, producer price inflation should continue to wane as policy tightening weighs on economic activity. Consumer price inflation, meanwhile, may inch up further but should remain below 2 percent. The upshot is that hopes for a sustained reflation in China are fading,” Julian Evans-Pritchard of Capital Economic said in a commentary.

The Nasdaq composite index ticked higher to another record Tuesday, its third straight day of setting an all-time high, but other indexes closed lower. The Nasdaq rose 0.3 percent to 6,120.59. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index slipped 0.1 percent to 2,396.92. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 0.2 percent to 20,975.78.

Benchmark U.S. crude added 36 cents to $46.24 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 55 cents to settle at $45.88 per barrel on Tuesday. Brent crude, the international standard, gained 30 cents to $49.03. It fell 61 cents to close at $48.73 per barrel in London.

The euro strengthened to $1.0892 from $1.0876 while the dollar rose to 114.11 Japanese yen from 113.99 yen.