BEIJING — Asian stock markets were slightly higher Tuesday as investors waited for an update on U.S. inflation that has been stronger than expected.

The Nikkei 225

in Tokyo gained 0.7% while the Hang Seng

in Hong Kong sank 0.3%. The Shanghai Composite Index

rose less than 0.1%.

The Kospi

in Seoul rose 0.9% while Sydney’s S&P/ASX 200

inched slightly higher. Benchmark indexes in Singapore

and Indonesia


Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index closed higher Monday, snapping a five-day losing streak.

Investors were watching for August inflation data due out Tuesday. Headline inflation stands above 5% as consumer and business activity revives.

The price spike has prompted fears the Federal Reserve might feel pressure to roll back easy credit and other stimulus. But Fed officials indicate they believe the surge is temporary and they will keep interest rates low until a recovery is established.

“The Fed has generally stuck to its transitory inflation view, but we think that risks may be tilted to the upside,” said Eugene Leow of DBS in a report. “In any case, excessively loose monetary policy may not increase output or employment but may worsen price pressures and distort market signals further.”

On Wall Street, the S&P 500

rose 0.2% 4,468.73, boosted by bank, energy and communications stocks. The S&P 500 was coming off its biggest weekly drop in three months.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude

gained 42 cents to $70.87 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract gained 73 cents on Monday to $70.45. Brent crude
used to price international oils, advanced 40 cents to $73.91 per barrel in London. It added 59 cents the previous session to $73.51 a barrel.

The dollar

rose to 110.07 yen from Monday’s 110.02 yen.

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