Market Commentary US stocks inch higher as inflation concerns ease


• US stocks rose modestly as global central banks and inflation remained in the spotlight for investors on Wednesday. The major benchmarks couldn’t gather much momentum, with investors sitting on the sidelines again. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 10.59 points, or 0.03%, to 34,323.05, the S&P 500 gained 7.86 points, or 0.19%, to 4,195.99 and the Nasdaq Composite added 80.82 points, or 0.59%, to 13,738.00.


• Comments from Federal Reserve officials have helped tamp down concerns about runaway inflation and kept bond yields in check. The 10-year US Treasury note held below the 1.6% level.


• Asian stocks finished mostly higher, with a 0.9% gain for Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index, supported by property and casino stocks. Chinese stocks ended the session mixed, as property stocks and home-electrical-appliance makers gained, while semiconductor shares weighed. The Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.3%, extending Tuesday’s 2.4% jump. The Shenzhen Composite Index slipped 0.1%, while the ChiNext Price Index lost 0.9%.


• Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average added 0.3% as gains in railway and e-commerce stocks helped offset losses in steel and financial shares. Covid-19 infection trends remained in focus after mass vaccination programmes started earlier this week.


• Singapore shares closed higher on Tuesday, buoyed by the news that Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry has maintained its economic growth forecast range of 4% to 6% for the city-state this year after its economy grew 1.3% year-on-year in the first quarter. During the day, the benchmark Straits Times Index ranged between 3,132.22 and 3,149.39 and ended 0.7% higher at 3,146.07.


• Elsewhere, Fabio Panetta, a European Central Bank executive board member, said it was “clearly premature” to discuss any paring of emergency asset-buying in the common-currency zone, even though the economic outlook is “improving.” He made the comments in an interview with the Nikkei that published on Wednesday. The Stoxx Europe 600 index was little changed.