SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Asian stocks markets logged moderate gains on Wednesday after Wall Street closed mixed as investors assessed implications of political events around the world. Weaker than expected Chinese inflation data underscored concern that the economy is losing steam.
KEEPING SCORE: Japan’s Nikkei 225 gained 0.2 percent to 19,875.34 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 0.8 percent to 25,088.27. China’s Shanghai Composite index climbed 0.3 percent to 3,088.63. But South Korea’s Kospi fell 1.0 percent to 2,269.34. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 advanced 0.7 percent to 5,883.00.
MOON RISES: 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.
CHINA INFLATION: 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.
ANALYST’S VIEW: “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 2.0%. The upshot is that hopes for a sustained reflation in China are fading,” Julian Evans-Pritchard of Capital Economic said in a commentary.
WALL STREET: 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.
OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude added 30 cents to $46.18 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.
CURRENCIES: The euro strengthened to $1.0897 from $1.0876 while the dollar fell to 113.68 Japanese yen from 113.99 yen.