SYDNEY — Asian shares rose early on Tuesday, shrugging off worries about an increase in regional coronavirus infections and a subdued session on Wall Street, as inflation jitters helped push gold prices to three-month highs.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 1.13% after a mixed session on Monday. Japan’s Nikkei rose as much as 2.2%, while Hong Kong’s stocks opened up 0.87%. China’s blue-chip CSI300 index was slightly lower.
Spot gold traded around $1,871.46 an ounce, near a three-and-a-half month high, after the Empire State Manufacturing Survey, produced by the New York Fed, showed the highest prices paid since the series began in 2001.
“Markets appear primed to seize on any upside surprises to growth and inflation data as implying a more rapid lift-off from zero rates than the Fed policy makers’ own projections indicate,” BlackRock investment strategists said in a note.
However, Dallas Federal Reserve President Robert Kaplan on Monday reiterated his view that he does not expect interest rates to rise until next year, helping to reassure markets that the Fed will not tighten early, traders said.
Markets are waiting on Wednesday’s release of the minutes from the Federal Reserve’s policy meeting last month, which could shed more light on the policymakers’ outlook on inflation and an economic rebound.
In Australia, minutes of the central bank’s May policy meeting showed it believed wages would likely need to expand “sustainably above 3%” to generate inflation, underscoring how long rates could remain near zero. Wage growth is currently running at just 1.4%.
Australia’s benchmark rose 0.53%, while Singapore stocks also recovered some losses, gaining 1.29% after a 2% fall on Monday as the country reported the highest number of local infections in months.
Shares in Taiwan, which is also seeing a spike in cases, also recovered as lawmakers said the country was in talks with the United States for a share of the COVID-19 vaccine doses President Joe Biden plans to send abroad.
The dollar teetered near multi-month lows against European currencies as Treasury yields stalled in the wake of Kaplan’s comments.
U.S. Treasury yields traded one basis point wider to 1.6505%, while the two-year yield, which rises with traders’ expectations of higher Fed fund rates, touched 0.1551% compared with a U.S. close of 0.153%.
The dollar index was down 0.082%, with the euro at $1.2157.
Overnight, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.16%, to 34,327.79, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite dropped 50.93 points, or 0.38%, to 13,379.05 and the pan-European STOXX 600 index lost 0.05%.
MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe was 0.29% higher at 700.50.
Oil prices rose, with Brent crude and West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude both up around 0.3% in early Asian trade.
(Reporting by Paulina Duran; editing by Richard Pullin)