An investor sits at private stock trading boards at a private stock market gallery in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018. Asian markets were mostly higher on Tuesday, though Chinese benchmarks fell after the government reported inflation rose for the fourth straight month. (AP Photo/Yam G-Jun)

Asian shares gain, but inflation drags on Chinese benchmarks

October 16, 2018 - 12:37 am

SINGAPORE (AP) — Asian markets were mostly higher on Tuesday, though Chinese benchmarks fell after the government reported inflation rose for a fourth straight month. Hopes that President Donald Trump may meet his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping at the Group of 20 summit in November lifted sentiment.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 jumped 1.3 percent to 22,549.24. The Kospi in South Korea was flat at 2,145.12. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index, which has fallen 22 percent since early January, was almost unchanged at 25,437.20. The Shanghai Composite dropped 0.9 percent to 2,546.33. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.6 percent to 5,869.90. Shares rose in Taiwan, Indonesia and Thailand but fell in Singapore.

WALL STREET: Technology companies skidded and misses in corporate earnings pulled most U.S. indexes lower for the seventh time in eight days. The S&P 500 index dropped 0.6 percent to 2,750.79. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.4 percent to 25,250.55, and the Nasdaq composite skidded 0.9 percent to 7,430.74. But the Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks was 0.4 percent higher at 1,553.09.

CHINESE INFLATION: The National Bureau of Statistics said China's consumer price index gained 2.5 percent in September from a year earlier, supported largely by fresh food prices and in line with market expectations. This follows a 2.3 percent increase in August. The country's producer price index gained 3.6 percent from a year earlier, slowing from the previous month. Rising inflation is a double-edged sword. The central bank has tended to shrug off rising prices, but the trend could limit its room for loosening monetary policy in coming months.

ANALYST'S TAKE: "There's a calming of the markets. This is not an all-clear but a consolidation at lower levels," Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney, said in an interview. "News that President Trump and Xi may meet at the G-20 summit has added to optimism that the trade dispute between the U.S. and China could be resolved," he added.

ENERGY: U.S. benchmark crude oil lost 4 cents to $71.74 per barrel. The contract rose 0.6 percent to close at $71.78 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, the international standard, gave up 32 cents to $80.46. It gained 0.4 percent to $80.78 in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar strengthened to 112.14 yen from 111.78 yen late Monday. The euro eased to $1.1596 from $1.1580.