Asian stocks mostly rise as markets watch China, inflation

Wall Street futures advanced before the bell on the last full day of campaigning before Tuesday’s US midterm elections.

Futures for the Dow Jones industrials rose 0.5% and futures for the S&P 500 gained 0.4%.

Tuesday’s election will decide control of Congress and key governorships. History suggests the party in power may suffer losses in the midterms, and decades-high inflation has become a significant issue for the Democrats.

Apple dipped in premarket trading after warning customers they’ll have to wait longer to get its latest iPhone models —the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max — after anti-virus restrictions were imposed on a contractor’s factory in central China.

Speculation late last week about a possible relaxation of China’s zero-COVID strategy has had a huge impact on markets. On Monday, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index gained 2.7% to 16,595.91 and the Shanghai Composite rose 0.2% to 3,077.85.

There has been no official confirmation in China of a major change.

“Over the weekend, Beijing has dashed hopes of China re-opening in the horizon, by reasserting of zero-COVID policies. And this could induce fresh caution,” Tan Boon Heng at Mizuho Bank in Singapore said in a report.

Also in China, the government reported its trade shrank in October as global weakened and anti-virus demands weighed on domestic consumer spending. Exports declined 0.3% from a year earlier, down from September’s 5.7% growth, the customs agency reported Monday. Imports fell 0.7%, compared with the previous month’s 0.3% expansion.

Economists have been forecasting that the world’s second-largest economy’s trade will slow as global demand cools following interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve and other central banks to rein in surging inflation.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 jumped 1.2% to finish at 27,527.64. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.6% to 6,933.70. South Korea’s Kospi gained nearly 1.0% to 2,371.79.

Shares rose in Taiwan and but edged lower in India.

In Europe at midday, Germany’s DAX jumped 0.9%, while France’s CAC 40 picked up 0.2% and Britain’s FTSE 100 rose retreated 0.2%.

In energy trading, benchmark US crude fell 94 cents to $91.67 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the international standard, lost 83 cents to $97.74 a barrel.

In currency trading, the US dollar declined to 146.59 Japanese yen from 146.92 yen. The euro rose to 99.80 cents from 99.60 cents.

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Kageyama reported from Tokyo; Ott reported from Washington.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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