HONG KONG (Reuters) – Asia’s share markets were mixed and the dollar held steady on Tuesday, as investors awaited U.S inflation data for more clues on the health of the world’s largest economy and when the Federal Reserve could start to taper its stimulus.
China’s tightening grip on its technology companies and a widening liquidity crisis for the country’s most indebted property developer again kept investors on edge.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.14%.
Australia’s S&P/ASX200 reversed course to be up 0.12% after initially trading down 0.31%.
Hong Kong’s Hang Sen Index dipped into negative territory, shedding 0.17%.
China’s blue-chip CSI300 index extended losses to be down 0.55% after opening off 0.2%. Tokyo’s Nikkei was 0.6% higher.
In early trade, US Emini futures were 0.2% higher, pointing towards a positive open for the S&P 500 on Tuesday.
“Right now, investors are more cautious then they have been. September tends to be a weaker month historically for equity prices,” Credit Suisse’s senior investment strategist Suresh Tantia said.
“Equity prices have been very high, so clients are more cautious now. There is the prospect of Fed tapering in the next two to three months and that is a negative catalyst for markets.”
In Hong Kong, shares of China Evergrande Group slumped to their lowest since 2014 after the developer said it had appointed financial advisers to examine its capital structure.
The company also said sales would fall again in September due to concerns over its debt which would hurt its liquidity and cash flow. Evergrande shares were down 10.7% .
China’s technology stocks are also being closely scrutinised after authorities told the country’s leading tech companies to stop blocking each other’s links on their sites.
The directive was the latest in a string of tightening regulations that has dragged down the Hang Seng Tech Index by nearly 40% since its peak in February.
“We are still concerned about the regulations, what they mean and how they will be rolled out, but with the correction that is underway, that means there is some value in certain parts of the Chinese equities market,” Luke Moore, Oreana Financial Services chief executive, told Reuters.
“We don’t see an end in sight to the changes yet, we think the uncertainty is going to continue and everyone is looking for clarity on how far the regulations will go and what could be next.”
The Nasdaq Golden Dragon China Index, which tracks Chinese companies listed in the United States, fell 1.1% on Monday, to take its decline over the past six months to 35.5%.
FOCUS ON U.S. DATA
Markets are awaiting U.S. inflation data on Tuesday, expected to show core consumer prices rose 0.3% in August. Prices were up 0.3% the previous month and 0.9% in June.
Economists expect annual inflation to ease slightly to 4.2% from 4.3% in July. The data comes ahead of a key meeting by the Federal Reserve on Sept 21-22.
“We estimate the pace of price increases declined in August as re‑opening frictions slowly fade,” Commonwealth Bank head of international economics Joseph Capurso said in a note to clients.
“There will be lots of analysis of individual price moves that reflect the re‑opening of the economy and supply bottlenecks.”
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 261.91 points, or 0.76%, to 34,869.63, the S&P 500 gained 10.15 points, or 0.23%, to 4,468.73 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 9.91 points, or 0.07%, to 15,105.58.
The prospect of a corporate tax hike in the United States from 21% to 26.5% as part of a $3.5 trillion budget bill remains front and centre for investors.
Goldman Sachs estimates a tax rate increase to 25% plus half of the proposed hike in foreign income tax rates could shave 5% off S&P 500 earnings in 2022.
The dollar index was flat in Asian trade at 92.6 after falling back from its two-week high reached on Monday of 92.87.
The yield on benchmark 10-year Treasury notes rose to 1.3276% compared with its U.S. close of 1.324% on Monday. The two-year yield, which rises with traders’ expectations of higher Fed fund rates, touched 0.217% compared with a U.S. close of 0.215%.
U.S. crude ticked up 0.7% to $70.95 a barrel. Brent crude rose to $73.96 per barrel.
Gold was slightly lower. Spot gold traded at $1,791.6 per ounce. [GOL/]
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