Asian Shares Advance as Investors Brace for Key Central Bank Meetings

Asian stocks inched up on Monday as investors looked ahead to corporate earnings and crucial central bank meetings that are expected to result in higher interest rates in Europe and the United States, and possibly signal the conclusion of the monetary tightening cycle in both regions.

The Nikkei 225 in Japan rose 1.12% as of 9:45 AM Bangkok time. The au Jibun bank’s purchasing managers index remained at 52.1 in July, marking the ninth consecutive month of growth in business activity in Japan.

The S&P/ASX 200 in Australia increased by 0.10% as the country’s composite PMI fell into contraction territory in July, marking the first time this has happened since March.

South Korea’s Kospi was up 0.71%.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index dropped 0.89%, while the Shanghai Composite in mainland China was 0.26% higher.

The U.S. stock market showed mixed results on Friday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the week up by 0.01%, a streak of gains that hadn’t seen since August of 2017. While the S&P 500 rose by 0.03%, the Nasdaq Composite dropped by 0.22%.

The focus will be on what Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell and European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde say about the future, as the markets have already factored in a quarter-point raise from both central banks.