Asian stocks higher as shock of Paris attacks fades
BEIJING (AP) — Asian stocks were mostly higher Wednesday as the shock of the Paris terror attacks faded and an uptick in U.S. inflation added support for a possible interest rate hike.
KEEPING SCORE: Tokyo's Nikkei 225 gained 0.2 percent to 19,676.77 points and the Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.2 percent to 3,611.10. Sydney's S&P ASX/200 advanced 0.5 percent to 5,144.50 and Seoul's Kospi was up 0.1 percent to 1,965.06. Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.1 percent to 22,285.93 and Malaysia, Jakarta and New Zealand also advanced. India's Sensex shed 0.2 percent to 25,818.13 and Taiwan, Singapore and Bangkok also declined. On Tuesday, Wall Street ended little changed, with the Dow Jones industrial average up 0.04 percent and the Standard & Poor's 500 index down 0.1 percent. The Nasdaq composite gained 0.03 percent.
TERRORISM JITTERS: Investors restored calm in European markets following the attacks in Paris that left 129 people dead and more than 350 injured. Travel and tourism stocks suffered but markets were unexpectedly resilient. Germany's DAX rose 2.4 percent, helped by a report showing German business optimism rose in November due to strong domestic demand. The data didn't fully reflect the Paris attacks, though the survey's authors say it does not appear to have had a significant impact. France's CAC 40 jumped 2.8 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 rose 2 percent.
US INFLATION: The consumer price index rose 0.2 percent in October after falling the prior two months. That could increase the likelihood that the Federal Reserve will begin raising interest rates from historic lows as early as next month. That would be "a psychological boost that the economy is self-sustaining enough that the Fed could get off the zero interest rate policy," said David Chalupnik, head of equities at Nuveen Asset Management.
ANALYST'S TAKE: "Markets are fading risk-aversion moves despite still elevated terror-related tensions," Mizuho Bank said in a report. U.S. inflation data "suggests that price pressures are rising towards the Fed's 2 percent inflation goal, supporting calls for the Fed to hike rates next month," it said.
WALL STREET: Investors weighed mixed results from retailers ahead of the start of the Christmas shopping season amid worries that sales will be weak. Urban Outfitters fell 3.8 percent after the retailer's latest quarterly sales fell short of expectations. Wal-Mart Stores rose 3.5 percent after the company reported improved customer traffic and an increase in a key sales figure for the third quarter, even as a stronger dollar pressured its performance overseas. Energy stocks were among the biggest decliners due to a fall in oil prices.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude gained 32 cents to $40.98 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract plunged $1.07 on Tuesday to close at $40.67. Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose 40 cents to $43.97 per barrel in London. It fell 99 cents the previous session to $43.57.
CURRENCY: The dollar inched up to 123.4150 yen from Tuesday's 123.4090. The euro edged down to $1.0636 from $1.0645.