Asian Equities Tumble Ahead of US Inflation Data: Markets Wrap – Yahoo Finance

Asian equities tumbled on Wednesday as investors adopted a cautious stance ahead of the release of U.S. inflation data, which could shape expectations for the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index dropped 0.5%, with the declines led by South Korea and Australia. Japan’s Topix index closed 0.3% lower, while the Kospi index in Seoul dropped 1.3%.

The U.S. consumer price index for April is due later in the day and is expected to show that inflation accelerated to 4.7% year-on-year. That could raise expectations that the Fed will start tapering its bond-buying program sooner than previously thought.

The market focus is now on the U.S. inflation data and the Fed’s reaction, said Yoshinori Shigemi, a global market strategist at JPMorgan Asset Management in Tokyo.

“The market is still in a wait-and-see mode,” he said.

The Shanghai Composite Index closed 0.4% higher, while the Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong slipped 0.2%. Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd. dropped 1.4% after it said it will delay the launch of its new board for startups.

China’s yuan strengthened for a fourth day, trading 0.2% higher at 6.4268 per dollar as of 4:41 p.m. local time.

Elsewhere, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index slid 1.3%, with the losses led by miners and banks. New Zealand’s S&P/NZX 50 Index rose 0.2%.

Futures on the S&P 500 Index were little changed. The underlying gauge rose 1.2% on Tuesday, with the advance driven by technology stocks.

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