Stocks Climb as Inflation Data Take Center Stage: Markets Wrap

(Bloomberg) — Stocks in Asia followed Wall Street higher as investors looked to inflation readings for clues on the path of interest rate hikes.

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A benchmark of Asia equities headed for a sixth weekly gain, the longest such stretch in two years. US futures moved higher ahead of producer price data later Friday and after the S&P 500 notched its first advance this month.

Chinese shares rose as factory-gate prices contracted while consumer inflation eased, giving the nation’s central bank some room to ease policy to foster economic recovery from the impact of the pandemic.

Investors are taking heart from any signs of softness in prices that may allow policymakers around the world to be less hawkish and more supportive of economic growth.

The dollar dropped versus most of its major counterparts, extending Thursday’s move when geopolitics-driven appetite for haven investments faded. The offshore yuan slightly strengthened.

Treasury yields declined, with 10-year rate hovering near 3.45%. Government bond yields also moved lower in Australia while Japan’s benchmark 10-year yield fell by half a basis point.

Oil rose in Asia, but headed for a weekly drop of nearly 10% after a volatile session on Thursday on concerns over economic outlook.

Friday’s US producer price index for November is one of the final pieces of data Federal Reserve policymakers will see before their Dec. 13-14 policy meeting. The PPI in October cooled more than expected. Meanwhile there are some signs the labor market is cooling, with continuing jobless claims climbing to the highest since early February.

Still, strategists from Morgan Stanley to JPMorgan Chase & Co. have warned investors against piling back into risk on hopes the Fed is getting close to pivoting to easier policy.

JPMorgan Asset Management sees more room for equities to decline from the current levels. “We still think next year it’s going to be a pretty downbeat outlook for the global economy, given all the tightening we have seen so far this year,” Sylvia Sheng, global multi-asset strategist, said on Bloomberg Television.

Meanwhile, comments from Li Keqiang were supportive of sentiment in Hong Kong and mainland markets, with the Chinese premier saying that stable prices have left the nation further room for macro policy adjustments as it tries to bolster economic growth.

JPMorgan strategist Marko Kolanovic said he “remains positive on China, due to favorable monetary conditions as well as an eventual full reopening and end of Covid.”

Key events this week:

  • US PPI, wholesale inventories, University of Michigan consumer sentiment, Friday

Some of the main moves in markets:

Stocks

  • S&P 500 futures rose 0.2% as of 1:57 p.m. Tokyo time. The S&P 500 rose 0.8%

  • Nasdaq 100 futures rose 0.3%. The Nasdaq 100 rose 1.2%

  • Japan’s Topix index rose 1.1%

  • South Korea’s Kospi index rose 0.5%

  • Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 1.6%

  • China’s Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.1%

  • Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.5%

Currencies

  • The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index fell 0.2%

  • The euro rose 0.2% to $1.0577

  • The Japanese yen rose 0.5% to 136.01 per dollar

  • The offshore yuan was little changed at 6.9554 per dollar

Cryptocurrencies

  • Bitcoin was little changed at $17,199.13

  • Ether rose 0.3% to $1,281.79

Bonds

  • The yield on 10-year Treasuries declined three basis points to 3.45%

  • Japan’s 10-year yield was at 0.245%

  • Australia’s 10-year yield declined eight basis points to 3.28%

Commodities

  • West Texas Intermediate crude rose 0.7% to $71.94 a barrel

  • Spot gold rose 0.4% to $1,796.73 an ounce

This story was produced with the assistance of Bloomberg Automation.

–With assistance from Rita Nazareth and Rob Verdonck.

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