Asian shares mostly lower, Tokyo climbs on strong GDP data

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Asian shares were mostly lower on Wednesday after a dismal day on Wall Street. But shares in Tokyo were buoyed by better-than-expected GDP data.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan’s Nikkei 225 stock index jumped 0.6 per cent to 16,753.55 and Singapore and Indonesia rose. But most other regional benchmarks fell. The Shanghai Composite index dropped 1.1 per cent to 2,812.57 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 1.3 per cent to 19,861.14. South Korea’s Kospi lost 0.6 per cent to 1,957.07. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.2 per cent to 5,387.00.

JAPAN’S SURPRISE: Growth in the first quarter of the year was a faster-than-expected 1.7 per cent, the government reported. Solid consumer demand and higher government spending helped offset weak business investment and sluggish exports.

WALL STREET: The Dow Jones industrial average lost 180.73 points, or 1 per cent, to 17,529.98. The S&P 500 index gave up 19.45 points, or 0.9 per cent, to 2,047.21. The Nasdaq composite pulled back 59.73 points, or 1.3 per cent, to 4,715.73.

ANALYST VIEWPOINT: “U.S. investor nerves were triggered by a stronger than expected read on headline CPI for April. The question of whether underlying US inflation surprises to the upside this year is near the top of the list for major market issues at the moment. If it does, U.S. rate hikes could be in prospect,” Ric Spooner, chief market analyst for CMC Markets, said in a research note.

ENERGY: U.S. crude oil rose 16 cents to $48.47 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It rose 59 cents to $48.31 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 10 cents to $49.38. It rose 31 cents to $49.28 a barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 109.33 yen from 109.14 yen. The euro slipped to $1.1287 from $1.1314.