By Associated Press
BEIJING — Asian stock markets rose Wednesday after Wall Street hit a high following an uptick in U.S. inflation and an order by regulators to suspend use of Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus vaccine.
On Wall Street, the benchmark S&P 500 index closed 0.3% higher in choppy trading. Tech and consumer stocks gained on optimism the vaccine rollout will allow business activity to return to normal. J&J /zigman2/quotes/201724570/composite JNJ +0.15% declined after U.S. regulators suspended use of its single-dose vaccine to investigate possibly dangerous blood clots.
The U.S. government reported consumer prices increased by a stronger-than-expected 0.6% in March, the fastest rate since 2012. Higher inflation normally fuels fears interest rates might be raised to keep prices stable, but the Federal Reserve has said the economy will be allowed to “run hot” to ensure a recovery is in place.
Traders “took the well-telegraphed inflation ‘pick-up’ in stride,” said Stephen Innes of Axi in a report. Market also are “seemingly unfazed” by the J&J suspension.
The Shanghai Composite Index /zigman2/quotes/210598127/delayed CN:SHCOMP +1.77% gained 0.2% while the Nikkei 225 /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK +2.32% in Tokyo shed 0.4%. The Hang Seng /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI +1.11% in Hong Kong advanced 1.2%.
The Kospi /zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed KR:180721 +1.00% in Seoul was up 0.2% and Sydney’s S&P/ASX 200 /zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed AU:XJO +0.45% gained 0.3% to 7,022.30. New Zealand /zigman2/quotes/211587880/delayed NZ:NZ50GR -0.48% and Jakarta /zigman2/quotes/210597981/delayed ID:JAKIDX -0.63% advanced while Singapore /zigman2/quotes/210597985/delayed SG:STI -2.18% and Taiwan /zigman2/quotes/210597977/delayed TW:Y9999 +1.00% declined.
Shares of Toshiba /zigman2/quotes/205628942/delayed JP:6502 +0.89% jumped in Tokyo trading after the Japanese technology and manufacturing conglomerate’s president stepped down , a week after the company said it was studying an acquisition proposal from a global fund where he previously worked.
Investors have been encouraged by the rollout of coronavirus vaccines despite renewed disease outbreaks that have prompted some governments to tighten or reimpose business and trade curbs.
On Wall Street, the S&P 500 /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX +1.49% rose to a record 4,141.59. The Dow Jones Industrial Average /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA +1.06% fell 0.2% to 33,677.27. The Nasdaq /zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime COMP +2.32% , which has more technology stocks, gained 1.1% to 13,996.10.
In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude rose 39 cents to $60.57 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract advanced 48 cents on Tuesday to close at $60.18. Brent crude , the international price standard, gained 43 cents to $64.10 per barrel in London. It added 39 cents the pervious session to $63.67 a barrel.
The dollar /zigman2/quotes/210561789/realtime/sampled USDJPY -0.1069% declined to 108.87 yen from Tuesday’s 109.09 yen.