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Stock market today: Asian shares mostly higher ahead of consumer confidence and price data

BANGKOK (AP) — Shares were mixed in Asia on Tuesday after Wall Street benchmarks edged lower as investors waited for updates on inflation and how American consumers are feeling about the economy.

Tokyo and Hong Kong fell while Shanghai, Seoul and Sydney gained.

On Tuesday the Conference Board will issue its latest report on consumer confidence, which has remained solid throughout the year. Economists polled by FactSet expect another solid reading for the October report.

On Thursday, Wall Street will be closely watching the government’s October data on the Federal Reserve’s preferred measure of inflation. Economists expect that measure to continue easing, as it has been since the middle of 2022.

Investors have grown cautiously optimistic that inflation has cooled enough for the Federal Reserve to put a definitive end to its aggressive interest rate hikes. Meanwhile, the broader economy has remained strong enough in the face of rising interest rates and inflation to avoid a recession.

Signs the U.S. economy is slowing, and that conditions in China remain uncertain are weighing on sentiment, analysts said.

After U.S. new home sales slowed more than expected in October, “The Conference Board’s consumer confidence survey could well show a deterioration in mood,” Robert Carnell and Min Joo Kang of ING Economics said in a commentary.

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index lost 0.4% to 33,323.13.

The Hang Seng in Hong Kong slipped 0.6% to 17,419.42. Sensetime’s shares sank 5.6%, having fallen as much as 9%, after Grizzly Research accused the artificial intelligence software company of inflating its revenue figures. In a notice to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, Sensetime said the allegations were “without merit” and showed a lack of understanding of the company’s business and its financial reporting.

Grizzly also has taken aim at other major Chinese tech companies, including online clothing retailer Temu.

Elsewhere, South Korea’s Kospi jumped 0.8% to 2,514.45 and the Shanghai Composite index edged 0.1% higher, to 3,034.80.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 added 0.3% to 7,011.10 and India’s Sensex was up just 18 points at 65,980.48. Bangkok’s SET gained 0.4%.

On Monday, the S&P 500 fell 0.2% to 4,550.43. The Dow Jones Industrial Average also edged 0.2% lower, to 35,333.47, and the Nasdaq composite slipped 0.1% to 14,241.02.

The S&P 500 remains on track to close out November as its best month of the year.

Shopify rose 4.4% after announcing a Black Friday record for worldwide sales of $4.1 billion from its merchants. Consumers were scouring the internet for online deals as they capped off the five-day post-Thanksgiving shopping bonanza with Cyber Monday.

Health care, communication services and industrial stocks were among the biggest drags on the market. Eli Lilly & Co. fell 1.6%, Meta Platforms slid 1% and Union Pacific closed 2% lower.

Technology stocks and companies that rely on consumer spending were bright spots. Chipmaker Nvidia rose 1% and Amazon.com gained 0.7%.

In the bond market, Treasury yields fell broadly. The yield on the 10-year Treasury, which influences interest rates on mortgages and other loans, fell to 4.40% from 4.47% late Friday.

The price of U.S. crude oil fell 0.9% Monday, remaining mostly stable ahead of OPEC’s meeting on Thursday. The cartel has maintained tight supplies, though prices have been falling over the last month. Lower energy prices could further ease inflation’s squeeze on consumers and help fuel economic growth.

Early Tuesday, U.S. benchmark crude was up 18 cents at $75.04 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Brent crude, the international pricing standard, gained 22 cents to $80.09 a barrel.

The main focus through the end of the year will be on the Fed and what it does next. It has been holding its benchmark interest rate steady at a range of 5.25% to 5.50% since its last quarter-point hike at its July meeting. Investors increasingly expect the Fed to cut rates in mid-2024, easing it off its highest level in two decades. The central bank is aiming to cool inflation without slowing economic growth to the point of causing a recession.

In other trading Tuesday, the U.S. dollar fell to 148.16 Japanese yen from 148.68 yen. The euro slipped to $1.0953 from $1.0955.

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AP Business Writers Alex Veiga and Damian J. Troise contributed.

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