Asia-Pacific stocks mixed; New Zealand announces biggest rate hike in more than 20 years

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SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia-Pacific looked set for a mixed open on Wednesday as investors watch for market reaction to the release of a slightly hotter-than-expected U.S. inflation report.

China’s trade data for March is also expected at 11:00 a.m. HK/SIN today.

Japan’s Nikkei futures contract in Chicago was at 26,400 while its counterpart in Osaka was at 26,320. That compared against the Nikkei 225’s last close at 26,334.98.

Australian stocks looked poised for a lower start, with the SPI futures contract at 7,417, against the S&P/ASX 200’s last close at 7,454.

Looking ahead, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand is also set to announce its interest rate decision at 10:00 a.m. HK/SIN on Wednesday.

U.S. consumer prices rose 8.5% in March as compared with a year ago, the fastest annual gain since December 1981, according to official data released Tuesday. The consumer price index print was above the Dow Jones estimate for 8.4%.

The core consumer price index which excludes food and energy, however, showed signs it may be ebbing. It rose 0.3% for the month, lower than the 0.5% estimate.

Shares on Wall Street slipped overnight following the U.S. inflation report release. The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 87.72 points, or 0.26%, to 34,220.36. The S&P 500 dipped 0.34% to 4,397.45 while the Nasdaq Composite declined 0.3% to 13,371.57.

Currencies

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 100.29 as it continued to hold above the 100 level.

The Japanese yen traded at 125.47 per dollar, weaker than levels below 125.1 seen against the greenback earlier this week. The Australian dollar was at $0.7457 following its rise from below $0.744 yesterday.

— CNBC’s Jeff Cox contributed to this report.

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