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Asia stocks mostly higher following Wall Street rally

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Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index jumped 0.4% to 38,491.15, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.4% to 7,760.40, Taiwan’s Taiex advanced 1.4% and in Bangkok the SET was virtually unchanged

Asian stocks were mostly higher on Wednesday following a rally on Wall Street that took the Nasdaq composite index to a record high.

A report Tuesday showed that prices remain stubbornly high at the wholesale level in the US, before many price changes are passed along to consumers, with the producer price index (PPI) data for April reaching 0.5%, higher than predicted.

The rate of inflation has been ticking higher in 2024, raising concerns that the Fed could have a hard time taming inflation to its goal of 2%.

But investors were reassured by comments made by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell. Speaking at a panel discussion in Amsterdam on Tuesday, he reaffirmed that the U.S. central bank won’t likely hike its key interest rate to respond to sticky inflation. But he also said that his confidence that inflation will ease is “not as high as it was” because price hikes have been persistently hot in the first three months of this year.

A bigger test for markets comes later Wednesday, when the U.S. will release its monthly update on consumer prices, or inflation faced by households. Economists expect the consumer price index (CPI) to drop to 3.4% in April on a year-over-year basis.

In Asian trading, Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index jumped 0.4% to 38,491.15 and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.4% to 7,760.40.

In China, the Shanghai Composite index shed 0.4% to 3,133.47 after the central bank kept a key lending rate unchanged Wednesday, indicating Beijing’s focus on maintaining monetary stability.

Elsewhere, Taiwan’s Taiex advanced 1.4% and in Bangkok the SET was virtually unchanged.

Markets in South Korea and Hong Kong were shut for a holiday.

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