Asia Shares Wary of U.S. Inflation, Bitcoin Tries to Steady


Asian shares got off to a cautious start on Monday as investors awaited key U.S. inflation readings for guidance on monetary policy, while Bitcoin tried to steady after being hammered on news of Chinas crackdown on mining and trading of the cryptocurrency.

MSCIs broadest index of AsiaPacific shares outside Japan dipped 0.4 in slow trade. Japans Nikkei added 0.2 and Chinese blue chips lost 0.5.

Nasdaq futures were flat and SP 500 futures firmed 0.2. EUROSTOXX 50 futures and FTSE futures added 0.1.

After surveys of the global service sectors out on Friday showed spectacular growth, all eyes will be on U.S. personal consumption and inflation figures this week.

A high reading for the core inflation figures would ring alarms and could revive talk of an early tapering by the U.S. Federal Reserve.

The diary has a crowd of Fed speakers this week, including the influential Fed Board Governor Lael Brainard, and markets will be keen to hear if they stick to the script on being patient with policy.

BofAs monthly Fund Manager survey found a record high 69 of respondents expected above trend economic growth and inflation globally.

As a result, managers had pushed into commodities and latecyclicals, where overweight positions were close to 15year highs, while the single most crowded trade was Bitcoin.

With such bullish views on growth and inflation, the risk for investors is that growth slows and inflation proves temporary, BofA analysts said in a note.

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