Asian Shares Slide On Inflation Worries

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Asian stocks succumbed to selling pressure on Tuesday amid a tech sell-off and growing concerns over inflation. As the economy heats up, it is feared that the Federal Reserve may tighten its monetary policy sooner than expected.

Chinese shares reversed early losses to close higher, with the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index edging up 13.85 points, or 0.4 percent, to 3,441.85. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index tumbled 581.85 points, or 2 percent, to 28,013.81.

China's consumer price inflation rose at a slower-than-expected pace in April, while producer prices grew at the fastest pace in more than three years, driven by higher commodity prices, official data showed today.

Consumer price inflation rose to 0.9 percent in April from 0.4 percent in March, the National Bureau of Statistics reported. Nonetheless, the rate was slightly below economists' forecast of 1 percent. On a monthly basis, consumer prices dropped 0.3 percent versus an expected fall of 0.2 percent.

Producer price inflation surged to 6.8 percent in April from 4.4 percent in March. This was the highest since October 2017 and well above economists' forecast of 6.5 percent. Month-on-month, producer prices grew 0.9 percent.

Japanese shares led regional losses as fears of higher inflation prompted investors to dump high-flying tech stocks. The Nikkei 225 Index plummeted 909.75 points, or 3.1 percent, to 28,608.59, while the broader Topix closed 2.4 percent lower at 1,905.92.

Tokyo Electron, Screen Holdings, Advantest and Renesas Electronics gave up 4-6 percent. Heavyweight SoftBank Group lost 6.5 percent.

The average of household spending in Japan was up 6.2 percent year-on-year in Marcy, a government report showed earlier in the day. That beat forecasts for an increase of 1.5 percent following the 6.6 percent drop in February.

Australian markets fell from the record high reached in the previous session as inflation concerns mount. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index dropped 75.80 points, or 1.1 percent, to 7,097 as investors looked forward to the federal budget for direction. The broader All Ordinaries Index ended down 88.20 points, or 1.2 percent, at 7,331.60.

Tech stocks followed their U.S. peers lower, with Afterpay plunging 8.7 percent and Nearmap slumping 7.7 percent. Xero, WiseTech Global and Appen gave up 3-4 percent.

Mining heavyweights BHP and Rio Tinto fell 0.7 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively, while smaller rival Fortescue Metals Group lost 2.8 percent. In the oil & gas sector, Woodside Petroleum and Santos fell about 3 percent.

Seoul stocks slipped from a record closing high after a tech sell-off on Wall Street overnight. The benchmark Kospi slid 39.87 points, or 1.2 percent, to 3,209.43, ending a four-day winning streak. The index soared 1.6 percent to close at a record high on Monday.

Chip giants Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix ended down 2.4 percent and 5.4 percent, respectively while internet giant Naver lost 3.6 percent.

Investors ignored data showing that South Korea's exports for the first 10 days of May surged 81.2 percent year-on-year.

New Zealand shares fell, with the benchmark NZX-50 Index ending down 19.82 points, or 0.2 percent, at 12,639.19. A2 Milk shares slumped 6.5 percent to extend losses from the previous session after the dairy producer cut its annual revenue and profit margin forecasts.

The value of retail electronic spending in New Zealand climbed a seasonally adjusted 4.0 percent sequentially in April, Statistics New Zealand said, after rising 0.8 percent in March. Spending in the core retail industries climbed 4.1 percent month-on-month.

U.S. stocks fell overnight on worries about accelerating inflation. The Dow hit a record intraday high before finishing 0.1 percent lower, while the S&P 500 fell over 1 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite tumbled 2.6 percent after negative analyst comments.

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