TOKYO – Asian stock markets rose Wednesday after Wall Street hit a high following an uptick in U.S. inflation and an order by regulators to suspend use of Johnson & Johnson's coronavirus vaccine.
Shanghai, Hong Kong, Seoul and Sydney rose, while Tokyo was off less than 0.5%.
On Wall Street, the benchmark S&P 500 index closed 0.3% higher in choppy trading. Tech and consumer stocks gained on optimism the vaccine rollout will allow business activity to return to normal. J&J declined after U.S. regulators suspended use of its single-dose vaccine to investigate possibly dangerous blood clots.
The U.S. government reported consumer prices increased by a stronger-than-expected 0.6% in March, the fastest rate since 2012. Higher inflation normally fuels fears interest rates might be raised to keep prices stable, but the Federal Reserve has said the economy will be allowed to “run hot” to ensure a recovery is in place.
Traders “took the well-telegraphed inflation ‘pick-up’ in stride,” said Stephen Innes of Axi in a report. Market also are “seemingly unfazed” by the J&J suspension.
The Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.4% to 3,408.51 while the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo shed 0.3% to 29,676.30. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong advanced 1.2% to 28,849.09.
The Kospi in Seoul was up less than 0.1% at 3,171.18 and Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 gained 0.6% to 7,022.30. New Zealand and Jakarta advanced while Singapore declined.
Investors have been encouraged by the rollout of coronavirus vaccines despite renewed disease outbreaks that have prompted some governments to tighten or reimpose business and trade curbs.