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Marketmind: Inflation appetizer served before central bank main course


By Lewis Krauskopf

(Reuters) – A look at the day ahead in Asian markets from Lewis Krauskopf, U.S. markets correspondent

Markets face a question heading into Tuesday’s action — will the U.S. inflation report spoil the mood?

Asian investors are waking up to another upbeat session in global stock markets. Wall Street’s major averages continued to push higher, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq ending up well over 1%. The gains come after the benchmark S&P 500 last week registered a 20% rise off its October low, which by some definitions confirmed a bull market.

Japan’s Nikkei also rose on Monday, closing in on the 33-year peak it reached last week, while European equity benchmarks built on their year-to-date gains.

Tuesday brings data that could cause some investor anxiety. The monthly U.S. consumer price index report is expected to show the country’s inflation rate slowing from 4.9% annually to 4.1%. CPI has been a fixation for markets after it soared to 40-year highs last year, prompting aggressive monetary tightening.

But a key issue this time is whether a too hot, or too cold, number will have any meaningful market impact, with the Federal Reserve widely expected to pause its rate-hiking cycle when it gives its latest policy decision on Wednesday.

Locally, consumer sentiment and business confidence data are due in Australia, after the Reserve Bank of Australia last week stepped up a warning of more rate hikes ahead to temper rising price pressures.

On Monday, data showed India’s annual retail inflation cooled to a more than two-year low of 4.25% in May as cost pressures on food eased, moving closer to the Reserve Bank of India’s target of 4%.

The Fed is part of a generous helping of central bank meetings this week, with the European Central Bank and Bank of Japan also on tap.

Elsewhere in markets on Monday, oil prices slumped, with benchmark Brent settling at its lowest closing level since December 2021, as analysts highlighted rising global supplies and concerns about demand growth.

Here are key developments that could provide more direction to markets on Tuesday:

– Australia consumer sentiment (June)

– Japan business survey index (Q2)

– U.S. CPI inflation data (May)

(By Lewis Krauskopf; Editing by Deepa Babington)

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