Asian stocks rise ahead of central bank meetings

BEIJING (AP) — Asian stock markets rose Tuesday as investors watched for decisions from central banks in Europe and elsewhere about when they might start to wind down economic stimulus.

Shares advanced in Shanghai, Tokyo and Hong Kong, which are the bulk of Asia’s market capitalization. Seoul and Sydney declined.

U.S. markets were due to reopen following a three-day weekend.

Investors looked ahead to this week’s meeting of the European Central Bank, which is expected to debate when to withdraw bond purchases and other stimulus for economies that use the common euro currency.

“Attention will be on whether the policymakers start to taper asset purchases, especially in light of recent stronger-than-expected inflation data,” said Anderson Alves of ActivTrades in a report.

The Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.6% to 3,644.36 and the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo gained 0.8% to 29,894.92. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong advanced 0.9% to 26,398.46.

The Kospi in Seoul shed 0.5% to 3,187.26 and Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 declined 0.1% to 7,519.60.

Investors also are watching for results of central bank meetings this week in Australia and Canada.

Also Tuesday, Japan’s government reported wages rose 1% over a year earlier in July, accelerating from the previous month’s 0.1%.

Investors have been encouraged by the spread of coronavirus vaccinations and stronger U.S. corporate profits, though hopes are tempered by rising infections due to the virus’s more contagious delta variant.

Traders also appear to hope weak job markets in the United States and some other countries might prompt central bankers to postpone withdrawal of stimulus that has pushed up stock prices.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude lost 15 cents to $69.14 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 33 cents to $72.55 per barrel in London.

The dollar declined to 109.79 yen from Monday’s 109.84. The euro was little-changed at $1.1879.