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Hang Seng Lifted by Energy Stocks, Nikkei Gains on Weaker Yen

Tensions in the Red Sea have pushed oil prices higher while China Evergrande’s downfall caused a ripple not a shockwave

Most Asian markets rose on Thursday after Wall Street's enthusiastic response to Nvidia's latest positive news.
A TV reporter stands in front of a large screen showing stock prices at Tokyo Stock Exchange (Reuters).


Asia’s major stock indexes advanced on Monday with some optimism remaining after last week’s raft of stimulus measures from Beijing.

China’s markets were an outlier though as news of the liquidation of property giant China Evergrande unnerved traders fearing a wider contagion across the world’s No2 economy.

The dip, however, was not too pronounced with many having already priced in the real estate firm’s expected downfall in a Hong Kong court.


Also on AF: Singapore-Bound Oil Tanker Hit as Red Sea Tensions Escalate


China’s bluechip CSI300 Index fell 0.90% while the Shanghai Composite Index dropped 0.92%, or 26.87 points, to 2,883.36. The Shenzhen Composite Index on China’s second exchange dived 2.42%, or 40.63 points, to 1,637.41.

On Sunday, China’s securities watchdog said it would suspend the lending of lock-up shares for short selling starting Monday. The regulator will also slow the process of share lending in the securities refinancing market from March 18.

In Hong Kong, shares of Chinese oil giants including Sinopec, CNOOC and PetroChina climbed as oil prices rose amid heightened geopolitical tensions in the Middle East. An index tracking mainland property developers rose 0.8%,

The benchmark Hang Seng Index gained 0.78%, or 125.01 points, to 16,077.24.

Japan’s Nikkei share average rose as a jump in oil prices boosted energy-related stocks, while a weaker yen and a strong showing in other Asian equities also buoyed investor sentiment.

The Nikkei closed up 0.77% at 36,026.94, breaking back into the 36,000 range after faltering at the end of last week. The broader Topix rose 1.27% to 2529.48.


India Stocks Advance

Mining shares rose 3.74% to top the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s 33 industry sub-indexes, followed by the oil and coal product shares index, which climbed 3.66%.

Meanwhile, a softer yen helped exporters, with Honda Motor and Toyota Motor gaining the most among the top 30 core Topix stocks, up 3.85% and 3.15%, respectively.

Elsewhere across the region, in earlier trade, Indian stocks advanced with Mumbai’s signature Nifty 50 index up 1.85%, or 395.50 points, at 21,748.10, while South Korea’s Kospi advanced 0.89%. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.7%.

The dollar and US Treasury yields hovered in the middle of recent ranges ahead of a highly anticipated Federal Reserve policy meeting later in the week.

US stock futures pointed slightly lower after the S&P 500 slipped 0.07% on Friday to snap five straight days of fresh all-time closing highs.

The backdrop for that was continued moderation in US consumer inflation in Friday’s data, which added to the narrative for Fed rate cuts in coming months but also suggested policy makers had little pressure to rush.


US Dollar Steady

Markets expect the Fed to keep policy steady on Wednesday, but will be hunting for clues on when a first rate cut might come. Economists mostly predict June, but traders are pricing the risk of a March move at essentially a coin toss, according to CME Group’s FedWatch Tool.

The US dollar index, which tracks the currency against six major peers, stuck to the middle of its range of the past two weeks at 103.52, little changed from Friday.

The dollar was little changed at 148.06 yen, while the euro eased 0.1% to $1.08395. Sterling was steady at $1.2704.

Long-term Treasury yields declined about 3 basis points to 4.1315%, putting them near the centre of their range since January 18.

Last week’s US data continued the “remarkable run” of not-too-hot and not-too-cold economic indicators, pointing to a soft landing and a May start to policy easing, Commonwealth Bank of Australia strategists wrote in a client note.

In energy markets, Brent crude futures rose 29 cents, or 0.4%, to $83.84 a barrel and US West Texas Intermediate crude gained 34 cents, or 0.4%, to $78.35 a barrel amid escalating risks of a widening of the Middle East conflict, which could disrupt supplies.


Key figures

Tokyo – Nikkei 225 > UP 0.77% at 36,026.94 (close)

Hong Kong – Hang Seng Index > UP 0.78% at 16,077.24 (close)

Shanghai – Composite < DOWN 0.92% at 2,883.36 (close)

London – FTSE 100 < DOWN 0.15% at 7,646.89 (0935 GMT)

New York – Dow > UP 0.16% at 38,109.43 (Friday close)


  • Reuters with additional editing by Sean O’Meara


Read more:

Court Orders China Evergrande Liquidation to Pay its $300bn Debts

China Imposes Fresh Curbs On Share Lending Amid Market Slide

China’s Guangzhou Fully Eases Large Home Purchase Limits

Nikkei Dips on Tech Slump, Stimulus Doubts Drag on Hang Seng



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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