Asia Stocks Mixed on Final Day of Stellar Quarter: Markets Wrap

Asian stocks were mixed as a regional index headed toward the biggest quarterly gain in five years. Japan shares gained with the dollar while oil remained above $50 a barrel.

Japan’s Topix advanced as data showed the first back-to-back increase in the nation’s core consumer prices in more than a year. Australian shares slipped while South Korea and New Zealand benchmarks were little changed. The greenback rose as Federal Reserve officials suggested rates may need to rise faster than the market currently anticipates. South Africa’s rand extended losses after President Jacob Zuma fired his finance minister.

“The prospect of unpredictable flows in the foreign-exchange, bond and equity markets is high as we head into the last day of the month and more importantly quarter-end,” Chris Weston, chief market strategist at IG Ltd. in Melbourne, said in an email. The fiscal year in Japan ends Friday.

Global stocks have surged this quarter as the reflation trade triggered by Donald Trump’s U.S. election victory shows resilience and stronger global growth underpinned gains. While European central bank officials this week doused expectations that policy makers were planning to withdraw monetary support, Fed officials shifted to a more hawkish tone, as the world’s biggest economy progresses toward goals for full employment and 2 percent inflation.

U.S. government policy may further boost the economy…

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