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Chip Stocks Lead Nikkei Rally on US Fed Rate Hike Hopes

Japan’s indexes followed in the slipstream of US markets which were buoyed by Fed chiefs signalling that inflation was cooling


Asia stock markets
Investors were focused on Wall Street, the Lunar New Year holiday closing markets in China and Hong Kong.

 

Asian investors began the week in uncertain mood on what was a thin day of trading with China’s markets closed for the Lunar New Year holiday.

Tokyo, though, was the headline writer, jumping more than 1% as it took its cues from a rally on Wall Street at the end of last week, with chip-related stocks leading the gains.

The Nikkei closed the day up 1.33% at 26,906.04, and earlier rose as high as 26,938.28 for the first time in a month.

The broader Topix rose 0.96% to 1,945.38, after hitting its highest since December 16 at 1,947.88.

 

Also on AF: Apple ‘to Raise India Production to 25%’ in Retreat From China

 

The yen’s retreat from last week’s seven-and-a-half-month high also helped sentiment, particularly among exporters.

Investors were even more focused on Wall Street than usual, owing to market holidays around Asia for the Lunar New Year which saw indexes in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Shenzhen all closed.

On Friday, the tech-heavy Nasdaq led advances among the big three US equity indexes, advancing 2.86%. The Philadelphia SE Semiconductor Index rallied 3.11%.

That boost came after top Federal Reserve officials had hinted the bank could lift rates at a much slower pace as inflation appears to be cooling down.

Also boosting sentiment was optimism over China’s re-emergence from three years of zero-Covid measures, which have hammered growth.

Sydney and India were also in the green on Monday, with Mumbai’s signature Nifty 50 index up 0.43%, or 78.05 points, at 18,105.70. But Manila, Bangkok and Wellington retreated.

In other trading on Monday, US benchmark crude oil edged higher while Brent crude, the price benchmark for international trading, saw a minor drop.

The US dollar rose 130.23 Japanese yen from 129.59 yen. The euro rose to $1.0900 from $1.0868.

 

Key figures

Tokyo – Nikkei 225 > UP 1.33% at 26,906.04 (close)

Hong Kong – Hang Seng Index <> CLOSED

Shanghai – Composite <> CLOSED

London – FTSE 100 > UP 0.22% at 7,787.88 (0935 GMT)

New York – Dow > UP 1.00% at 33,375.49 (Friday close)

Dollar/yen: DOWN < 129.45 yen from 129.51 yen on Friday

 

  • Reuters with additional editing by Sean O’Meara

 

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Sean O'Meara

Sean O'Meara is an Editor at Asia Financial. He has been a newspaper man for more than 30 years, working at local, regional and national titles in the UK as a writer, sub-editor, page designer and print editor. A football, cricket and rugby fan, he has a particular interest in sports finance.

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