Asian Shares Mixed Ahead Of Powell's Speech

Asian stocks ended mixed on Tuesday and the dollar rally paused as investors assessed the outlook for growth and interest rates in developed economies.

Investors awaited a speech by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell at the Economic Club of Washington later in the day for clues to any change in the U.S. central bank’s rhetoric.

Chinese shares rebounded on continued optimism surrounding China’s reopening with the world.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite index rose 0.29 percent to 3,248.09 while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index gained 0.36 percent to settle at 21,298.70.

Japanese shares surrendered early gains as the yen rose on data showing a rise in real wages for the first time in nine months. Separate data showed that household spending fell for a second month in December.

The Nikkei average finished marginally lower at 27,685.47 while the broader Topix index closed 0.21 percent higher at 1,983.40.

JFE Holdings plunged 8.5 percent after cutting its full-year steel output and profit estimates. Banks performed well, with Sumitomo Mitsui Financial and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial climbing 2-3 percent.

Seoul stocks posted modest gains after a sharp fall in the previous session. The Kospi average gained 0.55 percent to end at 2,451.71, led by big-cap tech stocks.

Australian markets reversed course to end lower as investors reacted to the Reserve Bank’s hawkish commentary.

The central bank hiked the cash rate by 25 bps to a 10-year high and hinted that further interest-rate increases will be needed in coming months to tackle inflation.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 slipped 0.46 percent to 7,504.10 while the broader All Ordinaries index closed 0.42 percent lower at 7,713.10.

Rate-sensitive property stocks led declines, with Goodman Group and Stockland falling around 2 percent each. Coal miners advanced, with Whitehaven and New Hope rising 1.9 percent and 3.7 percent, respectively.

Nuix soared 43.7 percent to hit a 10-month high of $1.30 after the embattled tech company won a Federal Court ruling against former CEO Edward Sheehy.

Across the Tasman, New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX-50 index closed 0.56 percent lower at 12,128.98 on concerns over rising bond yields.

U.S. stocks fell for a second day running overnight amid concerns the Fed might keep interest rates higher for longer to combat inflation.

The Dow slipped 0.1 percent, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite lost 1 percent and the S&P 00 shed 0.6 percent.

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