Asia-Pacific Stocks Rise; Fed’s Powell warns he can’t guarantee a ‘soft landing’

SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia-Pacific edged higher on Friday morning, continuing a roller-coaster week as investors remain cautious about inflation and the global economic outlook.

The Nikkei 225 in Japan traded up 1.05% as shares of Japanese conglomerate SoftBank Group jumped more than 2% despite Thursday reporting a record loss in its investment unit Vision Fund. The Topix index climbed 0.67%.

South Korea’s Kospi advanced 1.04% while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.46%.

MSCI’s broadest Asia Pacific ex-Japan equity index traded up 0.16%.

Worries over inflation and the economic outlook have weighed on global investor sentiment in recent days, with riskier assets such as tech stocks and cryptocurrencies taking a hit.

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US Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said on Thursday that getting inflation under control would not be easy and warned that he could not promise a so-called soft landing for the economy.

Overnight on Wall Street, the S&P 500 fell 0.13% to 3,930.08, more than 18% below its all-time high. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 103.81 points, or 0.33%, to 31,730.30. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite edged higher to 11,370.96.

Currencies

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 104.741 after a recent rally below 104.3.

The Japanese yen was trading at 128.58 to the dollar, stronger than levels above 130 seen against the greenback earlier this week. The Aussie dollar was at $0.6869 and continues to struggle for a rebound after slipping above $0.70 earlier in the week.

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