Asia’s major stock indexes saw a mixed end to the week, with tech doubts leading a slide in Hong Kong while strong earnings reports fuelled advances in Tokyo.
Chinese stocks also closed lower with investors underwhelmed by a meeting between the leaders of the world’s two largest economies, as new data showed prolonged weakness in the country’s key property sector.
But Japan’s Nikkei share average rose to book its third straight winning week, helped by an upbeat domestic earnings season that just wrapped up.
The Nikkei ended the day up 0.48% at 33,585.20, extending its gain for the week to 3.12%. The broader Topix added 0.95% on the day to book a 2.33% advance for the week, also a third weekly gain.
Japanese corporations reaped the benefits of a weaker yen and from passing on costs to consumers, with automakers becoming standout winners.
Japanese equity markets got a boost as well from a rally in US stocks, with the S&P 500 also on track to post a third straight week of gains.
Across the East China Sea, China’s new home prices fell for the fourth month in October, official data showed, as government support measures did little to lift the gloom hanging over the debt-laden property sector.
Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping agreed on Wednesday to open a presidential hotline, resume military-to-military communications and curb fentanyl production, but markets were disappointed at the lack of any trade breakthroughs.
China’s blue-chip CSI 300 Index closed down 0.12%, while the Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.11%, or 3.44 points, to 3,054.37. The Shenzhen Composite Index on China’s second exchange gained 0.44%, or 8.50 points, to 1,923.96.
Alibaba Group’s Hong Kong shares slumped 10% after it scrapped plans to spin off its cloud business. The Hang Seng Index lost 2.12%, or 378.63 points, to close at 17,454.19, and the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index lost 2.33%.
Elsewhere across the region, in earlier trade, Sydney, Seoul, Singapore, Mumbai, Manila, Jakarta and Wellington were in the red.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan eased 0.67% from a two-month high, but was still up 2.7% for the week.
Oil Prices Dip
Globally, oil prices were under pressure and both Brent and US crude slid almost 5% to four-month lows in a move that was blamed on economic and supply concerns, though technical selling likely played a part when the $80 bulwark broke.
Brent was last up 12 cents at $77.54 a barrel, and a world away from the $97.69 top hit in late September, while US crude edged up 13 cents to $73.03.
On Friday, S&P 500 futures were up 0.08%, while Nasdaq futures edged 0.07% lower. Eurostoxx 50 futures gained 0.35% and FTSE futures 0.24%.
Bond markets were still cheering this week’s benign US inflation report, with futures now pricing in almost zero chance of another rate hike from the Federal Reserve and a 34% probability it might ease as early as March.
The market is pricing in 98 basis points of cuts next year, compared with 73 basis points a week ago.
Ten-year note yields stood at 4.45%, having fallen 18 basis points for the week so far, a rousing rally from the 5.02% high hit just a month ago.
The sea change in market pricing for the Fed has left the dollar looking soggy, with the euro up at $1.0855 and holding gains of 1.6% for the week so far.
The dollar even lost ground to the yen, easing to 150.63 yen and away from a 151.92 peak hit early in the week. It fared better against commodity-linked currencies such as the Canadian dollar, which were hampered by the slide in oil.
The drop in bond yields proved bullish for gold, which nudged up to $1,985 an ounce.
Tokyo – Nikkei 225 > UP 0.48% at 33,585.20 (close)
Hong Kong – Hang Seng Index < DOWN 2.12% at 17,454.19 (close)
Shanghai – Composite > UP 0.11% at 3,054.37 (close)
London – FTSE 100 > UP 0.93% at 7,480.22 (0935 GMT)
New York – Dow < DOWN 0.13% at 34,945.47 (Thursday close)
- Reuters with additional editing by Sean O’Meara