Asian Shares Gain In Cautious Trading

Asian stocks rose broadly on Tuesday, the dollar eased, gold ticked higher and Treasury yields held steady as investors awaited cues from key U.S. CPI report later in the day and the Federal Reserve’s rate decision on Wednesday.

The U.S. Federal Reserve is widely expected to hold rates, with investors awaiting Chair Jerome Powell’s press conference as well as the central bank’s dot plot and economic projections for additional clues on the Fed’s rate trajectory.

Inflation’s broad slowdown is likely to extend through November, but the 2 percent inflation target is key to the Federal Reserve’s vision for stable prices in the U.S. economy.

Oil prices traded higher in Asian trading despite concerns over oversupply and demand.

Chinese shares rose after China Literature, which publishes user-generated written stories online, announced a share buyback and unveiled plans to acquire Tencent’s animation and comics unit.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index settled 0.4 percent higher at 3,003.44, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index jumped 1.1 percent to 16,374.50. China Literature shares soared 13 percent in Hong Kong.

Japanese shares ended mixed amid waning expectations for an imminent move by the Bank of Japan at its monetary policy meeting next week.

The Nikkei 225 Index edged up 0.2 percent to 32,843.70, extending gains for a second straight session. The broader Topix Index closed 0.2 percent lower at 2,353.16, tracking the yen’s strength.

Banks such as Mitsubishi UFJ Financial, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial and Mizuho Financial Group fell between 1.2 percent and 1.6 percent on concerns about prolonged low interest rates.

The Bank of Japan said earlier in the day that the pace of growth in Japanese producer prices decelerated in November to the slowest in almost three years.

Seoul stocks eked out modest gains, with the Kospi rising 0.4 percent to 2,535.27, extending gains for a third day running.

Chipmakers and financial firms topped the gainers list on hopes that the Federal Reserve could achieve a soft landing of the world’s largest economy.

Australian markets advanced, led by banks and technology stocks. The benchmark S&P ASX 200 Index rose half a percent to 7,235.330, marking its third straight session of gains. The broader All Ordinaries Index ended 0.5 percent higher at 7,446.40.

Across the Tasman, New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 Index dropped 0.6 percent to 11,382.58 ahead of third-quarter GDP data due on Dec. 14.

U.S. stocks rose modestly overnight to close at new highs for the year amid continued optimism that the Fed is done with rate hikes and could potentially cut rates in the first half of next year.

The Dow and the S&P 500 both gained around 0.4 percent, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite edged up 0.2 percent.

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