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Asian stocks tread water with inflation cues on tap

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Investing.com– Most Asian stocks moved in a tight range on Tuesday as investors shied away from big bets before a string of key inflation readings this week, while a U.S. market holiday also made for few trading cues. 

Regional markets saw some strength on Monday as China announced more stimulus measures, this time aimed at the local chipmaking industry. Chinese technology stocks saw extended gains on Tuesday on optimism over more stimulus. 

But broader markets were largely depressed, as the U.S. Memorial Day holiday also made for few overnight cues. 

Hong Kong boosted by tech rally, China flat 

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was a standout performer in Asia, rising 0.9% after strong gains in the prior session. In contrast, China’s benchmark Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 and Shanghai Composite indexes moved in a flat-to-low range.

Chinese tech stocks were cheered by the government announcing a new $47 billion fund aimed at supporting the local chipmaking industry, especially amid tight U.S. sanctions and tariffs against the country.

Some positive earnings also boosted sentiment. Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) Health Information Technology Ltd (HK:0241), which is a separately listed unit of the e-commerce giant, surged over 12% after clocking a strong jump in its profit for the year to March 31. The stock was also the biggest boost to the Hang Seng. 

Still, sentiment towards broader Chinese markets appeared to be cooling as investors waited to see just how the country will execute and fund its recent swathe of stimulus measures.

Anticipation of key Chinese purchasing managers index data later this week also kept investors on edge. 

Asian stocks subdued ahead of inflation cues

Broader Asian markets moved in a flat-to-low range before a string of key inflation readings from the region, and the U.S., due later in the week.

Australia’s ASX 200 fell 0.2% as data showed retail sales grew less than expected in April, amid pressure from inflation and high rates. A monthly consumer price index inflation reading is also due on Wednesday.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 index fell 0.4%, while the broader TOPIX lost 0.1%. Inflation data from Japan’s capital is due later this week, and is likely to factor into the Bank of Japan’s outlook on interest rates. 

South Korea’s KOSPI traded sideways, while futures for India’s Nifty 50 index pointed to a flat open, after the index briefly hit record highs in the prior session. 

Beyond Asia, key CPI readings from the eurozone are also due this week. But the biggest point of focus is PCE price index data- which is the U.S. Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation gauge.

The reading is due on Friday and is likely to factor into the outlook for rate cuts in the world’s largest economy. 

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