Asian stocks fall after Australia inflation accelerates

BEIJING (AP) — Asian stock markets are lower after Australia reported unexpectedly strong inflation, highlighting global pressures for prices to rise. Shanghai, Tokyo and Hong Kong retreated. Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index gained 0.2% following solid earnings reports from some major companies. Australia’s government reported its underlying consumer inflation rose by 0.7 percentage points to an annual rate of 2.1% in the quarter ending in September. Investors worry global central banks might feel pressure to contain rising inflation by withdrawing economic stimulus that is pushing up stock prices.