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Australia inflation, semiconductor stocks jump

Sydney Harbour taking in the Harbour Bridge, Opera House and ferries at sunrise during the COVID-19 pandemic on April 20, 2020 in Sydney, Australia.

James D. Morgan | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Asia-Pacific markets mostly rose Wednesday as semiconductor and related stocks jumped after Nvidia rallied overnight, while higher Australia’s inflation rate climbed for a third straight month.

Australia’s headline inflation for May came in at 4%, compared with the 3.6% recorded in April. The core inflation rate also came in at 4%, higher than the 3.8% expected by a Reuters poll of economists.

The higher-than-expected inflation reading could spur the RBA to raise interest rates. RBA Governor Michelle Bullock recently revealed the central bank discussed hiking rates at its last meeting.

Separately, Singapore’s May factory output climbed 2.9% in May, beating expectations from a Reuters poll of economists, which predicted a 2% year-on-year growth rate.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.71%, dragged by retail trade stocks, closing at 7,783. The index was the only one in negative territory throughout Asia.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 gained 1.26% and ended at 39,667.07, hitting its highest level since April 9, while the broad-based Topix was up 0.56% and reached its highest since March 22.

South Korea’s Kospi gained 0.64% to 2,792.05, while the small-cap Kosdaq traded close to the flatline and finished slightly up at 842.12.

Semiconductor and related stocks rose after Nvidia shares closed 6.76% higher overnight. Advantest jumped more than 7%, while Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, SK Hynix and MediaTek increased 1.59%, 5.33% and 1.44%, respectively. Samsung Electronics rebounded and gained 0.62%.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was marginally up in its final hour of trade, while mainland China’s CSI 300 closed 0.65% higher at 3,480.26 – rebounding off a near four-month low.

Overnight in the U.S., the Dow Jones Industrial Average declined, shedding 0.76% and closing at 39,112.16. Led by an Nvidia rebound, the broad market S&P 500 added 0.39% while the Nasdaq Composite advanced 1.26%, with both indexes ending three-day losing streaks.

— CNBC’s Hakyung Kim and Samantha Subin contributed to this report.

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