Asian Shares Mixed On Speculation Over BOJ Policy Shift

(RTTNews) - Asian stocks ended mixed on Tuesday after Japanese inflation topped estimates in January, adding to pressure on the Bank of Japan to make a significant policy shift in the coming months.

Gold and oil prices traded higher in Asian trading, while the dollar dropped before key inflation and GDP readings this week that could influence the Fed's rate trajectory.

Chinese shares rallied after reports state-backed funds have poured more than 410 billion yuan ($57 billion) into onshore shares this year.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index jumped 1.3 percent to 3,015.48, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index advanced 0.9 percent to 16,790.80.

Japanese markets ended on a flat note, while the yen edged higher, as new data showed inflation in the country slowed less than expected to two percent in January - hitting the central bank's target and firming expectations of a shift in monetary policy.

The Nikkei 225 Index ended marginally higher at 39,239.52, while the broader Topix Index edged up 0.2 percent to 2,678.46.

Heavyweight Advantest fell 2.1 percent as investors locked in profits.

Banks rose, with Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group climbing 2.5 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively. Steelmakers Kobe Steel and Nippon Steel both surged over 4 percent.

Seoul stocks fell notably, with the Kospi closing down 0.8 percent at 2,625.05 ahead of the release of major U.S. economic data this week.

SK Telecom dropped 1.1 percent after the telco partnered with U.S. AI startup Perplexity to offer the artificial intelligence-based search engine to its users as an alternative to Google and Naver.

Australian stocks ended little changed as energy firms and financials advanced, offsetting losses in the mining sector.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index inched up 0.1 percent to 7,663 as investors braced for the U.S. and Australian inflation readings and the New Zealand's Central Bank policy decision.

Across the Tasman, New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX-50 Index slipped 0.1 percent to 11,694.60.

U.S. stocks ended lower overnight as investors awaited key economic readings later in the week for clues on the rate outlook.

Earlier in the day, data showed sales of new U.S. single-family homes rose less than expected in January.

The Dow eased 0.2 percent, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite edged down 0.1 percent and the S&P 500 gave up 0.4 percent.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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