Asia Shares Cautious Ahead of US Earnings and Inflation Data

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FILE PHOTO: A man rides a bicycle past a screen displaying Nikkei share average and stock indexes outside a brokerage, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Tokyo, Japan December 30, 2020. REUTERS/Issei Kato/File Photo

HONG KONG ⸺ Asia share markets were cautious on Tuesday after U.S. markets weakened as investors anticipated the start of corporate earnings seasons and the release of key inflation data to indicate how the global recovery from the pandemic will emerge.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was trading less than 0.1% higher early Tuesday.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX200 gained 10 points to 6983.90 early in the session while Japan’s Nikkei rose 0.9%. Tech stocks drove the gain in Australian stocks while the country’s major miners showed signs of weakness.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index added 0.6% in early trade while the mainland bluechip index CSI300 edged up 0.3%ahead of March trade figures due to be published Tuesday.

South Korea’s KOSPI 200 Index was 0.5% higher. 

“Volatility has come off in U.S. markets as we see it trading flat ahead of reporting season,” said James Rosenberg, a Baillieu Holst advisor in Sydney. 

“With markets at broadly record levels there’s expectations it’ll be very strong and that certainly does not leave much room for disappointment.”

In the United States, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 55.2 points, or 0.16%, to 33,745.4, the S&P 500 lost 0.81 points, or 0.02%, to 4,127.99 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 50.19 points, or 0.36%, to 13,850.00.

Boston Federal Reserve Bank President Eric Rosengren said Monday the U.S. economy could see a significant rebound this year due to looser money and fiscal policy but the country’s job market still faced weakness. 

He said with inflation still below the central bank’s 2% target rate the current “highly accommodative” monetary policy stance remained appropriate.

U.S. inflation data for March is due to be published Tuesday. 

The benchmark 10-year yield was at 1.6782%, holding below a 14-month high of 1.776% reached on March 30. It traded between a range of 1.6835% and 1.6427% during the US session.

Reporting by Scott Murdoch in Hong Kong; Editing by Stephen Coates; Reuters

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