Asian stocks rise, but rate, inflation angst limits gains

Investing.com-- Most Asian stocks advanced on Tuesday as they recouped some losses from last week, although anticipation of key inflation readings and more cues on U.S. interest rates kept gains in check. 

A flat overnight close on Wall Street also provided middling cues to Asian markets, as investors remained wary of making big bets ahead of more cues on interest rates. U.S. stock index futures moved little in Asian trade. 

Focus was largely on U.S. consumer price index data for more cues on interest rates, especially as a blowout nonfarm payrolls report saw traders begin pricing out expectations for a June rate cut. 

Most Asian stocks were nursing steep losses from last week, as growing fears of higher-for-longer U.S. rates sparked widespread selling in risk-driven assets.

Taiwan stocks boosted by TSMC on $6.6 bln US subsidy

The Taiwan Weighted index was by far the best performer in Asia on Tuesday, rising over 1% on strong gains in chipmaker TSMC (TW:2330) (NYSE:TSM), the biggest stock on the index.

TSMC surged nearly 4% to a record high after the world's biggest contract chipmaker won a $6.6 billion subsidy from the U.S. government for an advanced chipmaking plant in Arizona. The chipmaker also increased its investment in the plant by $25 billion to $65 billion.

Chinese stocks lag, but Hong Kong boosted by support promises

China’s Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 and Shanghai Composite indexes lagged their regional peers for a second straight session, as weak risk appetite kept investors largely cautious towards the country. 

But Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index outperformed, rising 0.7% after the city’s leader John Lee said that authorities were considering more measures to boost local stock markets. But Lee did not provide any specific details on what measures this would entail. 

His comments came after a sustained underperformance in Hong Kong stocks over the past four years, as weakness in China spilled over.

More Chinese economic cues are on tap this week, with inflation and trade data due on Thursday and Friday, respectively. 

Japan’s Nikkei 225 extends recovery, but remains below 40,000 

Japanese stocks extended a recent rebound on Tuesday, with the Nikkei 225 index rising 0.6%, while the broader TOPIX added 0.3%.

But the Nikkei still remained below 40,000 points, after it suffered bruising losses last week on a mix of profit-taking and pressure from a stronger yen.

The yen softened this week, creeping back towards lows hit in 1990 as traders grew bolder that the Japanese government will not act on its warnings of intervening in currency markets. 

Broader Asian stocks either rose marginally, or tread water. Australia’s ASX 200 index add 0.4% even as data showed consumer sentiment worsened in April.

South Korea’s KOSPI fell 0.3%, with a Bank of Korea interest rate decision on tap later this week. 

Futures for India’s Nifty 50 index pointed to a flat open, with the index open to some profit-taking after closing at a record high on Monday.

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