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Asian equities fall ahead of key inflation data from United States.

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On Friday, Asian stocks fell and the dollar held steady as investors shied away from riskier assets on increased fears about COVID-19 and ahead of critical U.S. inflation data that might influence Federal Reserve rate decisions.

The MSCI Asia-Pacific ex-Japan index fell 0.4 percent, while Japan’s Nikkei fell 0.5 percent. The S&P 500 index fell 0.72 percent overnight, while the Nasdaq Composite fell 1.71 percent.

In Asian hours, the S&P 500 futures were up 0.14 percent. Earlier in the week, shares and risky currencies had performed strongly, with MSCI’s regional benchmark scoring its best day in two months on Tuesday, aided by signs that the Omicron strain of the new coronavirus might not be as economically damaging as first feared.

“Then, as we got towards the end of the week the fact that Europe was much more clearly moving into a sort of lockdown light and cases are going up, and COVID-19 case numbers in the U.S. are starting to ratchet up flipped things a little bit,” said Rob Carnell, head of research Asia Pacific at ING.

“Also there is a slight sense of ‘let’s not have too much risk on the table for the weekend’. Of course, there is CPI out in the U.S. – but I think we’ve all woken up to the fact that there is inflation in the U.S. now,” he added.

Story by : Norvisi Mawunyegah