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Hang Seng Dips as Tech Drags, China Stocks Extend Winning Run

Investor attention was split on Friday with bets on the AI revolution competing for attention with China’s sketchy recovery

A passerby walks past an electric monitor displaying various countries' stock price index outside a bank in Tokyo, Japan, March 22, 2023. REUTERS/Issei Kato
A passerby walks past an electric monitor displaying various countries' stock price index outside a bank in Tokyo, Japan, on March 22, 2023. Photo: Reuters


Asia’s major stock indexes ended the week in mixed fashion with some investors still enjoying an Nvidia bounce while others were preoccupied with China’s economic woes.

Global stock markets, though, were on course for a week of heady gains after AI darling Nvidia’s stunning results sparked a wave of record highs from Asia to Europe and the US.

China stocks gained, making it a nine-session winning streak, despite some investors booking profits after recent gains and keeping their powder dry as they wait for further policy guidance from Beijing.


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Data showed on Friday that China’s new home prices fell for the seventh month in January, leaving sentiment fragile as policymakers’ efforts to restore confidence in the debt-ridden sector struggles for traction.

China’s blue-chip CSI 300 Index edged 0.09% higher, while the Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.55%, or 16.52 points, to 3,004.88. The Shenzhen Composite Index on China’s second exchange was ahead 1.20%, or 19.75 points, to 1,669.85.

In Hong Kong, tech giants lost 1% and healthcare firms dropped 0.7% as the benchmark Hang Seng Index edged back 0.10%, or 17.09 points, to 16,725.86. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index was up 0.12%.

Elsewhere across the region, in earlier trade, Sydney, Seoul, Taipei and Wellington, as well as Bangkok, Manila and Kuala Lumpur were all trading higher. Mumbai, Jakarta and Singapore were down. 

Japan was closed for a public holiday and MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan pared early gains to be up 0.2%, heading for a weekly gain of 1.3%.

European markets were pointing to higher openings with Eurostoxx 50 futures up 0.1% and FTSE futures gaining 0.2%. US futures were mostly flat.

Nvidia surged 16.4% overnight, adding a record $277 billion in market value. The company’s results supercharged a global AI-led rally in technology stocks, propelling the S&P 500, the Dow Jones Industrials, Europe’s STOXX 600 and Japan’s Nikkei share average to record highs.

“The Nvidia effect has ripped through global equity markets and given fresh wind to markets that were looking ominously poised for a 3-5% drawdown,” said Chris Weston, head of research at Pepperstone in Melbourne.


Fading Rates Easing Hopes

Meanwhile, the influential Fed Governor Christopher Waller on Thursday said policymakers should wait at least another couple of months to see if inflation was indeed heading back to target.

Rates markets continued to pare back US policy easing expectations on the back of strong US economic data. Jobless claims fell, home sales rose to a five-month high although the expansion in business activity slipped a little.

The first Fed cut is now fully priced in for July, and just 80 basis points of easing is reflected in this year’s curve.

The cash Treasuries market was closed on Friday but overnight the 10-year Treasury yield rose to a three-month high of 4.3540%.

In the foreign exchange market, the yen was little changed at 150.59 per dollar on Friday, above the 150 level seen as possibly drawing Japanese intervention to slow the currency’s decline.

However, the yen has taken a beating against a broad range of currencies as investors bet the Bank of Japan will keep monetary policy accommodative even after ending negative interest rates.

Oil prices fell after climbing on supply fears as hostilities in the Red Sea showed no signs of abating. A large build-up in US crude inventories also weighed.


Key figures

Tokyo – Nikkei 225 <> CLOSED

Hong Kong – Hang Seng Index < DOWN 0.10% at 16,725.86 (close)

Shanghai – Composite > UP 0.55% at 3,004.88 (close)

London – FTSE 100 > UP 0.06% at 7,689.11 (0932 GMT)

New York – Dow > UP 1.18% at 39,069.11 (close)


  • 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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