Shares in Asia were mixed on Wednesday as traders waited for updates on inflation and corporate earnings.
Customs data showed stocks in Shanghai rose after exports rose in September, although imports declined sharply. The Shanghai Composite Index jumped 0.6% to 3,566.24.
Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index fell 0.3% to 28,140.28 and the S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.1% to 7,272.50. Seoul’s Kospi ended with a gain of 1% at 2,944.41.
Hong Kong was closed for a holiday.
Markets have been choppy for weeks as investors try to figure out how the economy will continue its recovery as COVID-19 remains a threat and rising inflation is potentially weighing down consumer spending and corporate finances.
China’s producer price index is set to end on Thursday. Economists have forecast more than 10% year-on-year growth, up from 9.5% in August.
Data released on Wednesday showed exports rose 28.1% to $305.7 billion in September. This was slightly faster than the 26% growth reported in August, and better than economists’ forecasts. Imports rose 17.6% to $240 billion, down 33% from the previous month.
Investors will also be watching closely for updates on inflation from the US Department of Labor, which will release its consumer price index for September on Wednesday.
It is a gauge of how inflation is pressing costs for consumers. Additional information on inflationary pressures for businesses is on Thursday when the Labor Department releases its producer price index.
The prices of oil and other energy rise along with the cost of other commodities. A shortage of semiconductors has meanwhile slowed production of many high-value industrial goods such as cars and consumer electronics.
On Tuesday, major indices fluctuated between small gains and losses on Wall Street for most of the day, before selling off in the last minutes of trading. The S&P 500 slipped 0.2% to end at 4,350.65. The Dow fell 0.3% to 34,378.34. The Nasdaq closed down 0.1% at 14,465.92.
A gauge of confidence in economic growth, shares of the smaller company outperformed the broader market, with the Russell 2000 Index rising 0.6% to 2,234.27.
The pullback in the S&P 500 marked the index’s third straight decline. Two days later, the index’s losses have offset its 0.8% gain from the previous week.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 1.58% from 1.60% late Friday. The bond market was closed for Columbus Day on Monday.
A coming round of earnings reports will give Wall Street a clearer picture of how companies fared in the most recent quarter amid a surge in COVID-19 cases. It will also shed light on how they expect to perform during the rest of the year.
According to FactSet, annual earnings of S&P 500 companies are expected to increase by 27.6% for the July-September quarter. This is down from the 28.1% growth predicted by analysts in July.
JPMorgan Chase will open earnings for the banks on Wednesday. Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Citigroup will follow up on their latest quarterly results on Thursday.
Many industries are feeling the pinch from rising inflation coupled with high cost of shipping and raw materials. Companies are warning that their financial results could be affected due to supply chain problems.
Supply chain constraints also raise the prices of many goods for consumers, which can hurt consumer spending and spur economic recovery. Investors will get an update on consumer spending when the Commerce Department releases its retail sales report for September on Friday.
In other trade, US benchmark crude oil fell 5 cents to $80.59 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It rose 12 cents to $80.64 a barrel on Tuesday.
International benchmark Brent crude fell by 3 cents to $83.39 a barrel.
The US dollar slipped from 113.59 yen to 113.48 Japanese yen late on Tuesday. The euro rose from $1.1530 to $1.1553.