By Gina Lee
Investing.com – Asia Pacific stocks were mixed Tuesday morning, but moves remained small. Investors continue to await further clues on the inflation outlook as the global economic recovery from COVID-19 continues.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 edged up 0.16% by 10:32 PM ET (2:32 AM GMT). The country released its GDP earlier in the day, which contracted 1% quarter on quarter for the first quarter of 2021. The contraction was smaller than the 1.2% contraction in forecasts prepared by Investing.com but the figure was lower than the previous quarter’s 2.8% growth. The GDP contracted 3.9% year-on-year, again exceeding the 4.8% contraction in forecasts prepared by Investing.com but lower than the previous quarter’s 11.7% growth.
South Korea’s KOSPI edged up 0.20%.
In Australia, the ASX 200 inched down 0.07%. Data released earlier in the day said that the National Australia Bank (NAB) Business Confidence Index climbed to 20 in May, higher than the previous month’s 17 reading. The NAB business survey also rose to 37, higher than April’s 32 figure.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index inched down 0.10%.
China’s Shanghai Composite edged down 0.17% while the Shenzhen Component was up 0.26%.
U.S. shares were little changed at the close of the previous session but hovered near record levels. Biogen Inc. (NASDAQ:BIIB) stocks rallied after the company received FDA approval for its Alzheimer’s drug aducanumab, which will be sold under the Aduhelm name.
Investors now await U.S. inflation data for May, including the consumer price index (CPI), due later in the week. Also on the radar is a U.S. Federal Reserve policy decision to be handed down in the following week that will be scrutinized for signs of asset tapering.
“When the FOMC will begin tapering its asset purchase program is still front and center for market participants,” Commonwealth Bank of Australia (OTC:CMWAY) currency strategist Kim Mundy said in a note.
Investors could reconsider that timeline following the inflation print, with Mundy expecting the Fed to discuss tapering in July or September.
However, other investors remained optimistic that the Fed would maintain its current dovish policy for now.
“We advocate looking through near-term market volatility and remain pro-risk, predicated on our belief that the Fed faces a very high bar to change its easy monetary policy stance,” BlackRock (NYSE:BLK) Investment Institute strategists led by Elga Bartsch said in a note.
Across the Atlantic, the European Central Bank will hand down its policy decision on Thursday, which will also be analyzed for any signs of asset tapering.
Meanwhile, the Group of Seven (G7) leaders’ summit is also set to open on Friday in Cornwall, England.
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