Asian Stocks Hit One-Month Highs, Bitcoin Climbs

By Swati Pandey

Indicators were positive for Europe as well with futures for Eurostoxx 50 up 0.2% and Germany’s DAX adding 0.1% though those for London’s FTSE were barely changed.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan went as high as 699.70, a level not seen since March 18. It was last up 0.1% at 696.46.

The index jumped 1.2% last week and is up 5.1% so far this year, on track for its third straight yearly gain.

“The extremely supportive monetary and fiscal policy setting continues to provide a fertile environment for risk assets,” said Rodrigo Catril, senior forex strategist at National Australia Bank.

Australian shares finished unchanged from Friday’s close while New Zealand’s benchmark index gained 0.6% and South Korea’s KOSPI added 0.1%. Japan’s Nikkei turned around its losses to end flat.

Chinese shares, which started in negative territory, recouped losses with the blue-chip index up 2.2%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 0.6%.

On Friday, the S&P 500 gained 0.4% to close at a new record high while clocking its sixth straight weekly gain. The Dow finished 0.5%, also at a record high while the Nasdaq climbed 0.1%.

The gains are unlikely to extend further with e-mini futures for the S&P 500 down 0.2%.

This week is off to a quiet start with no major data releases slated on Monday.

Investors will keep their eyes peeled for earnings from IBM and Coca-Cola later in the day. Netflix reports on Tuesday while later in the week American Airlines and Southwest will be the first major post-COVID cyclicals to post results.

The European Central Bank (ECB) meets on Thursday with no changes to rates or guidance expected while preliminary data on factory activity around the globe for April is due on Friday.

Elsewhere, Bitcoin, the world’s biggest cryptocurrency, reversed its losses after plunging as much as 14% on Sunday following speculation the U.S. Treasury may be looking at cracking down on money-laundering activity within digital assets, NAB’s Catril said.

Data website CoinMarketCap cited a blackout in China’s Xinjiang region, which reportedly powers a lot of bitcoin mining, for the selloff.

The retreat in Bitcoin also comes after Turkey’s central bank banned the use of cryptocurrencies for purchases on Friday.

Bitcoin was last up 1%. It has risen more than 90% year to date, driven by its mainstream acceptance as an investment and a means of payment, accompanied by the rush of retail cash into stocks, exchange-traded funds and other risky assets.

In currencies, the U.S. dollar loitered near a four-week low against a basket of currencies as investors increasingly bought into the Federal Reserve’s insistence it would keep an accommodative policy stance for a while longer.

The dollar index measuring the greenback against a basket of six currencies was unchanged at 91.567, not far from its lowest since March 18 touched on Friday.

Against the Japanese yen, the greenback was off 0.2% at 108.52. The euro was a tad lower at $1.1964 while the British pound gained 0.2% to $1.3854. [FRX/]

The risk-sensitive Aussie dollar climbed to $0.7740.

In commodities, oil prices were down with the Brent slipping 22 cents to $66.55 a barrel and U.S. crude falling 19 cents to $62.94.

Gold was up a tad at $1,776.7 an ounce.

(Editing by Michael Perry and Sam Holmes)

Asia-Pacific Stocks: Underpinned by Upbeat US data; China’s First Quarter GDP Slightly Misses Estimates

The major Asia-Pacific stock indexes finished higher on Friday with a series of economic reports from China the catalysts underpinning the markets.

Investors paid the most attention to China’s gross domestic product which surged in the first three months of the year from a year ago. Additionally, retail sales jumped in March, beating expectations, however industrial production missed expectations.

In the cash market on Friday, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index settled at 29683.37, up 40.68 or +0.14%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index finished at 28969.71, up 176.57 or +0.61% and South Korea’s KOSPI Index closing at 3198.62, up 4.29 or +0.13%.

China’s Shanghai Index settled at 3426.62, up 27.63 or +0.81% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index finished at 7063.50, up 4.90 or +0.07%.

China Says Its Economy Grew 18.3% in the First Quarter, Slightly Missing Expectations

China reported first-quarter gross domestic product a touch below expectations as industrial production disappointed but retail sales beat.

GDP soared 18.3% in the first three months of the year from a year ago, China’s National Bureau of Statistics said Friday. That’s slightly below expectations of a 19% increase, according to analysts polled by Reuters.

China also said retail sales rose 34.2% in March, topping expectations of 28% growth. Industrial production rose 14.1% in March, missing Reuters prediction of 17.2% growth. Investment in manufacturing fell 2% on an annualized basis over the last two years, which the statistics bureau spokesperson on Friday attributed to persistent business difficulties and lack of investment confidence. Finally, the unemployment rate dipped to 5.3% from 5.4%.

Japanese Shares End Higher on Chip Stocks Boost; Corporate Outlook Worries Cap Gains

Japanese shares closed slightly higher on Friday as heavyweight chip shares rallied, although concerns around corporate outlook capped the gains.

Chip-related shares gained after Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Ltd (TSMC), reported a 19.4% rise in first-quarter profit on strong chip demand.

Australia Shares End Higher as China, U.S. Data Spur Recovery Bets

Australian shares closed near 14-month highs on Friday as upbeat economic data from the United States and record first-quarter economic growth in the country’s largest trading partner China supported hopes of a global economic recovery.

Global stocks neared record highs after U.S. retail sales, jobs and Chinese economic growth data cemented expectations of a solid global recovery from the coronavirus-induced slump.

The Australian tech sub-index added 0.5%, tracking an overnight rally on the NASDAQ. Altium gained 3.2%, while EMI Payments firmed 2%.

Gold stocks shined as they jumped 2.9% on the back of lower yields and a weaker dollar. Newcrest, the country’s biggest gold miner, rose as much as 4.7%.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

Volatile Wall Street Tech Trade Expected to Drag Asia-Pacific Shares Lower on Opening

The major Asia-Pacific stock indexes are expected to open lower on Thursday, following Wall Street’s lead. The benchmark S&P 500 Index fell from its record high in a volatile trade on Wednesday amid a sharp drop in technology shares. The tech-weighted NASDAQ Composite posted a dramatic technical reversal top and the blue chip Dow was higher.

Ahead of the Asia-Pacific opening, key global stock indexes scaled new peaks on Wednesday after upbeat U.S. and European earnings pointed to a strong recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, while the dollar dipped to three-week lows as Treasury yields eased off recent highs.

Wednesday’s Recap

Shares in China led gains in the Asia-Pacific region during Wednesday’s trade as Chinese tech stocks listed in the city jumped. Shares of Chinese tech firms listed in Hong Kong saw a rebound on Wednesday after 12 companies, including Baidu, and Meituan, signaled compliance with antitrust laws.

That development came just a day after Beijing gave so-called platform companies a month to examine their actions and rectify any anti-competitive practices. Shares of most Chinese tech giants in Hong Kong tumbled on Tuesday amid those regulatory fears.

Australia Shares Hit 13-Month High on Gold, Tech Boost

Australian shares climbed to a 13-month peak on Wednesday, led by gains in gold stocks and technology firms.

Australia’s gold subindex posted its biggest jump since January 4 as bullion prices, a traditional hedge against inflation, rebounded from a more than one-week low. Newcrest, the country’s largest gold miner, added 4.2%.

Resolute Mining soared more than 20%, its biggest surge in more than a year, as a lease for its Bibiani gold mine in Ghana was restored after being terminated last month.

Technology stocks also surged 2.1% on the back of the U.S. consumer price data, tracking overnight gains on the NASDAQ.

Buy now, pay later bellwether and index heavyweight Afterpay jumped as much as 3.6% to its highest gains on the NASDAQ.

Japanese Shares End Lower as Virus Resurgence Hits Risk Appetite

Japanese shares ended lower on Wednesday, weighed down by cyclicals, as a resurgence in COVID-19 cases cast doubts over prospects of economic rebound, while falling interest rates dragged on banking and insurer stocks.

“The expectations for the reopening of the economy shrank because rollouts of vaccines in Japan is much slower than other countries, while the number of new COVID-19 cases is on the rise,” said Shoichi Arisawa, general manager of the investment research department at IwaiCosmo Securities.

“The interest rates could fall if the economy slows down. That has sent bank and insurer shares lower on Wednesday.”

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

Asia-Pacific Shares Tentatively Higher as investors Weigh Potential Impact of US CPI, Earnings Data

The major Asia-Pacific stock indexes settled lower on Tuesday with shares in China bucking the trend. With little guidance from Wall Street, investors paid close attention to U.S. Government bond yields which could be tested later today by what should be strong readings for U.S. inflation. Later in the week, investors will be guided by U.S. earnings and retail sales. The major worry is whether U.S. earnings justify the current sky-high valuations.

Cash Market Performance

In the cash market on Tuesday, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index settled at 29751.61, up 212.88 or +0.72%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index is trading 28550.22, up 96.94 or +0.34% and South Korea’s KOSPI Index finished at 3169.08, up 33.49 or +1.07%.

China’s Shanghai Index is trading 3394.10, down 18.85 or -0.55% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index closed at 6976.90, up 2.90 or +0.04%.

China’s Exports Missed Forecast in March, while Imports Rose More than Expected

China on Tuesday reported March exports data that missed analyst forecasts while imports for the month rose more than expected.

Chinese exports last month jumped 30.6% from a year ago in U.S. Dollar terms, lagging the 35.5% increase that analysts polled by Reuters had expected. Meanwhile, the country’s imports in U.S. Dollar terms rose 38.1% in March from a year ago, exceeding the 23.3% increase those analysts had forecast.

The stronger-than-expected rise in imports led China’s trade surplus to shrink to $13.8 billion in March, much narrower than the Reuters poll’s forecast of $52.05 billion.

Nikkei Gains as Glass Firms, Department Stores Shine on Upbeat Earnings

Japanese shares rose on Tuesday, led by gains in stocks of glass product companies and department store operators after their robust earnings, though concerns about rising domestic COVID-19 cases undermined travel-related shares.

AGC rose 2.9%, briefly hitting a 10-year high, after the glass product maker revised up its earnings outlook and dividend forecasts. The results also bumped up rival Nippon Sheet Glass 6.8%.

Takashimaya gained 4.3% after the department store chain operator announced a larger-than-expected profit in the current financial year after a dismal year hit by the pandemic.

“Today’s moves were mostly reactions to individual earnings. Overall, the market does not have a clear sense of direction at the moment, as investors looked to whether the Fed will start communication about tapering its stimulus,” said Nobuhiko Kuramochi, senior strategist at Mizuho Securities.

South Korean Stocks Rise on Tech Boost, Foreign Buying

South Korean shares rose on Tuesday, boosted by tech heavyweights and buying by foreigners, although some investors were cautious ahead of U.S. corporate earnings and inflation data.

Foreigners were net buyers of 182.8 billion won ($162.37 million) worth of shares on the main board.

In other news, the Bank of Korea is widely expected to keep interest rates at all-time lows on Thursday, as signs of a solid economic recovery are offset by concerns over a recent spike in domestic COVID-19 cases and a slow rollout of vaccines.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

Most Asia-Pacific Stock Markets Finish Lower as China PPI Rises More than Expected

The major Asia-Pacific stock indexes settled mostly lower on Friday despite a strong performance by U.S. stocks. The selling pressure was fueled as official data released Friday showed Chinese consumer and producer inflation rising in March as compared with a year ago.

Mainland Chinese stocks closed lower on the news, while shares in Hong Kong declined despite a surge in shares of Tencent-backed financial technology firm Linklogis. Stocks in Japan bucked the overall downward trend, while South Korean and Australian benchmarks retreated.

In the cash market on Friday, Japan’s Nikkei Index settled at 29768.06, up 59.08 or +0.20%. Hong Kong’s Hang Send Index finished at 28698.80, down 309.27 or -1.07% and South Korea’s KOSPI Index closed at 3131.88, down 11.38 or -0.36%.

In China, the Shanghai Index settled at 3450.68, down 31.88 or -0.92% and in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 Index finished at 6995.20, down 3.60 or -0.05%.

China’s March Factory Prices Grow at Fastest Pace Since July 2018

China’s factory gate prices rose at their fastest annual pace since July 2018 in March, official data showed on Friday, as growth in the world’s second-largest economy continued to gather momentum.

China’s producer price index (PPI) rose 4.4% in annual terms, the National Bureau of Statistics said in a statement. This compared with a medium forecast for a 3.5% rise in a Reuters poll of analysts and a 1.7% rise in February.

The inflation data is the latest indicator to point to robust economic growth in the January-March quarter. Data the previous week showed China’s manufacturing activity expanded at the quickest pace in three months in March as factories ramped up production to keep up with improving global demand.

In other news, China’s consumer price index (CPI) rose 0.4% from a year earlier in March, the statistics bureau said in a separate statement, compared with a median forecast for a 0.3% rise in a Reuters poll and a 0.2% decline in February.

South Korea Stocks Fall on Surging COVID-19 Cases, Weak US Data

South Korean shares ended lower on Friday, snapping a six-day winning streak, as worries over a surge in local coronavirus infections and downbeat U.S. labor data dampened investor sentiment.

A U.S. jobless claims report showed a second straight weekly increase on Thursday, conflicting with earlier payrolls and job vacancies data that had buoyed investor confidence of a quick economic rebound.

Further weighing on sentiment was South Korea’s 671 new coronavirus cases, following 700 a day earlier in its highest daily tally since early January, as it fanned fears over a potential fourth wave of outbreaks.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

Asia-Pacific Shares: Steady-to-Better is Early Call as Investors Digest Fed Minutes

Asia-Pacific shares are expected to rise slightly on the opening on Thursday, reflecting the price action in the U.S. market.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 and the Dow closed modestly higher and Treasury yields reversed slightly losses after the Federal Reserve, in minutes of its latest meeting, said that the economic recovery remains far from complete despite showing signs of progress. The tech-weighted NASDAQ ended the session nominally lower, and economically sensitive small caps and transports dipped into the close.

European stocks inched lower, closing below record highs, while optimism over speedy inoculations and the soft British Pound powered the UK’s exporter-laden FTSE’s 0.9% advance.

Ahead of the Asia-Pacific opening, investors are digesting the Fed minutes, released at 18:00 GMT. The minutes from the Fed’s most recent monetary policy meeting, in which the participants expressed caution about ongoing risks of the pandemic and reiterated the Fed’s commitment to an accommodative stance until the rebound was more secure.

Wednesday Recap

The major Asia-Pacific markets traded mostly higher on Wednesday but shares on the Chinese mainland and in Hong Kong lost ground.

China Shares Dip as Distillers Lead Consumer Slump

China’s main equity gauges fell on Wednesday with consumer firms dragging the market lower, as investors continued to worry that strong economic data could lead to possible policy tightening.

Analysts say that strong economic data could prompt authorities to tighten policy, putting pressure on equity valuations. “We can’t rule out the possibility that policymakers may move as early as late this year to tighten monetary policy, potential triggering knock-on effects in both the real economy and financial markets,” Christina Zhu, economist at Moody’s Analytics said in a note.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Falls as Tech Firms Dip

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell on Wednesday in its first trading session after an extended holiday as tech heavyweights and financials dragged it lower.

Index heavyweight Tencent dropped 3.75% and was the biggest drag on the Hang Seng for the day. It fall pushed the TECH Index down 1.37% and the IT sector down 2.4%.

Shares of Lenovo Group also dragged on the TECH Index, falling 4.07% for a third consecutive session of declines after the PC maker settled a multi-year patent fight with Finland’s Nokia.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

Asia-Pacific Shares Called Mixed, Mirroring Wall Street’s Performance

The major Asia-Pacific stock indexes are expected to open Tuesday’s session mixed due to the volatile, choppy trade on Wall Street. Stocks in the Asia-Pacific posed a similar move at the start of the week. The turmoil in the markets is coming from the financial services sector in reaction to sales of holdings by Archegos Capital Management.

Overnight shares of Japanese financial services company Nomura plunged 16.33% after the firm flagged a potential $2 billion loss at a U.S. subsidiary.

“Nomura is currently evaluating the extent of the possible loss and the impact it could have on its consolidated financial results,’ the company said in a news release. The firm on Monday also canceled a bond issuance that had been priced earlier in March.

Credit Suisse shares tumbled 13% as the bank warned it would face a “significant” hit to its first-quarter results due to the bank having to exit hedge fund positions related to the forced selling.

Bank stocks weighed on the Dow industrials, with Morgan Stanley dropping 2.6% JPMorgan Chase off 1.6%.

Though the market was taking a hit from the Archegos stumble, the situation is unlikely to have lasting impacts on the broader market, according to Bespoke Investment Group.

“While other funds may be caught in the mess, we fail to see how this specific car crash of a trade ends up propagating across the financial system via counterparty default,” Bespoke said in its morning note. However, the firm did caution that investors should “get used to the GMEs and Archegos of the world, because they seem to be happening with more frequency even if their fall-out is contained.

Alibaba-backed Bilibili Slumps in Hong Kong Trading Debut

Bilibili Inc, which is backed by Alibaba Group, tumbled as much as 6.8% in its Hong Kong stock debut on Monday as analysts said a U.S. regulatory crackdown on listed foreign firms hit enthusiasm for the Chinese online video site.

It was the worst start in the city in six months by a major stock listing. Bilibili debuted down 2.2%, was sold off to as low as HK$753 and headed into the afternoon trading session down 2.7%. It raised HK$20.2 billion ($2.6 billion) after pricing shares at HK$808 each last week, Reuters reported.

The debut is the worst by a major deal in Hong Kong since Yum China Holdings Inc shares lost 6.3% at the open in September after it raised $2 billion, according to Refinitiv data.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

Nomura Shares Slump About 17% as it Warns of $2 Billion Loss

Nomura Holdings warned that it possibly occurred a loss of nearly $2 billion at one of its U.S. subsidiaries, sending its shares down about 17% to a 7-week low on Monday.

Nomura is currently evaluating the extent of the possible loss and the impact it could have on its consolidated financial results. The estimated amount of the claim against the client is approximately $2 billion based on market prices as of March 26,” Japan’s biggest securities firm said in the release.

“As of the end of December 2020, Nomura maintained a consolidated Common Equity Tier 1 ratio of over 17 percent, which is substantially higher than the minimum regulatory requirement. Accordingly, there will be no issues related to the operations or financial soundness of Nomura Holdings or its US subsidiary,” it added.

Following this, Nomura shares, which fell over 3% in 2020, plunged about 17% to JPY600.8 on Monday in Tokyo.

Analyst Comments

“The news is negative in the short term. Assuming $2bn as its losses in the March quarter, we estimate most of its 2H FY3/21 PBT will be wiped out, which could affect its DPS and the other capital return program at the FY-end. But $2bn is a 7-8% hit to its capital (without giving any tax benefit). As long as these losses are one-off in nature, 1H FY3/22 should be the timing of recovery, thus the impact on the longer-term outlook is relatively limited, in our opinion,” noted Hideyasu Ban, equity analyst at Jefferies.

Nomura Stock Price Forecast

Morgan Stanley gave the base target price of JPY670 with a high of JPY800 under a bull scenario and JPY380 under the worst-case scenario. The firm gave an “Equal-weight” rating on the largest domestic brokerage’s stock.

“In the short term, the stock is likely to outperform Daiwa thanks to ongoing structural reform effects both in the Retail and Wholesale businesses, and due to rising market expectations that share buybacks will be announced in 4Q,” noted Mia Nagasaka, equity analyst at Morgan Stanley.

“For us to become bullish, Nomura Holdings would need to make private areas, as well as public areas, profitable over the medium term, thereby increasing the visibility of the company heading towards generating mid-double-digit ROEs in a stable manner.”

Asia-Pacific Shares Post Sharp Gains; Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Boosted by Xiaomi Electric Vehicle Partnership

The major Asia-Pacific stock indexes rose sharply on Friday, with shares in China and Japan leading the charge higher. The indexes were underpinned initially by a strong performance on Wall Street.

China shares rose in response to a surge in January – February industrial profits which provided a boost to the economic recovery. Hong Kong shares climbed on a technology rebound and South Korean stocks gained on economic optimism. Strong commodity prices helped Australia shares jump.

In the cash market on Friday, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index settled at 29176.70, up 446.82 or +1.56%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index finished at 28336.43, up 436.82 or +1.57% and South Korea’s KOSPI Index closed at 3041.01, up 32.68 or +1.09%.

In China, the Shanghai Index settled at 3418.33, up 54.74 or +1.63% and in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 index gained 0.5% to close at 6842.20.

China News

Annual profits at China’s industrial firms surged in the first two months of 2021, highlighting a rebound in the country’s manufacturing sector and a broad revival in economic activity from the coronavirus crisis early last year.

China’s blue-chip CSI300 Index rose on Friday and snapped a five-week losing streak, boosted by beaten-down consumer firms and strong inflows from foreign investors. Consumer staples stocks, which have been heavily sold off in recent weeks, led gains. A sub-index tracking the consumer staples sector rose 2.53%, led by foreign investor favorites Kweichow Moutai Co Ltd and Wuliangye Yibin Co.

Hong Kong Shares Rise on Tech Rebound

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index ended higher on Friday supported by gains in technology companies, but rising tensions between the West and China led the benchmark index to post losses for the week. The European Union joined Washington’s allies this week in imposing sanctions on officials in China’s Xinjiang region over allegations of human rights abuses, prompting retaliatory sanctions from Beijing.

Tech firms led Friday’s turnaround, up 2.33%. Meituan rose 5.08% and Tencent Holdings Ltd added 2.31%. Xiaomi Corp jumped 6.28% after Reuters reported the company planned to make electric vehicles using Great Wall Motor Co Ltd’s factory.

South Korean Stocks Gain on Economic Optimism

South Korean shares closed higher on Friday as optimism from improving U.S. economic data and an upgrade of growth forecast for the domestic economy lifted sentiment. Among heavyweights, technology giant Samsung Electronics rose 0.37% and peer SK Hynix gained 1.50%. LG Chem was up 1.78% and Naver added 0.79%.

Australia Shares Rise on Steady Commodities, Wall Street Rebound

Australian shares climbed on Friday, lifted by miners and oil and gas explorers as commodity prices stabilized, while an overnight rebound in Wall Street on signs of economic progress also lent support.

Miners led the gains after climbing nearly 1% as Chinese iron ore futures rose amid worries of supply shortages. Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals Group advanced 1.5% each.

Energy stocks climbed up to 1.1% as oil prices stabilized after a sharp drop overnight. Sector heavyweight Woodside Petroleum rose 2.4% while Santos gained more than 1%.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

Asia-Pacific Shares: Up Across the Board Early Amid Strong Wall Street Gains

Shares in the Asia-Pacific region were up across the board early Friday as investors followed Wall Street’s lead. U.S. stocks rose late in the session on Thursday after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell acknowledged that fiscal help from Congress and accelerated vaccine distribution has allowed the U.S. to recover faster than expected.

At 03:50 GMT, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index is trading 29210.82, up 480.94 or 1.67%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index is trading 28249.34, up 349.73 or +1.25% and South Korea’s KOSPI Index is at 3036.42, up 28.09 or +0.93%.

China’s Shanghai Index closed at 3409.77, up 46.18 or +1.37%. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 Index is trading 6826.60, up 36.00 or +0.53%.

“As we make substantial further progress toward our goals, we’ll gradually roll back the amount of Treasurys and mortgage-backed securities we’ve bought,” Powell told NPR’s “Morning Edition” in a live interview. “We will very gradually, over time and with great transparency, when the economy has all but fully recovered, we will be pulling back the support that we provided during emergency times.”

Australia Shares rise on steady commodities, Wall Street Rebound

Australian shares climbed on Friday, lifted by miners and oil and gas explorers as commodity prices stabilized, while an overnight rebound in Wall Street on signs of economic progress also lent support, Reuters reported.

Miners led the gains after climbing nearly 1% as Chinese iron ore futures rose amid worries of supply shortages. Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals Group advanced 1.5% each.

Energy stocks climbed up to 1.1% as oil prices stabilized after a sharp drop overnight. Sector heavyweight Woodside Petroleum rose 2.4% while Santos gained more than 1%.

The financial sub-index rose 0.5%, lifted by embattled wealth manager AMP Ltd, which clawed back from previous session’s losses to climb 5%. AMP shares on track for best session since February 26 after the company reiterated that Francesco De Ferrari would remain as its chief executive officer.

Japanese Shares Jump on Bargain Hunting, Tech Boost

Japanese shares jumped on Friday, led by a bounce back in tech shares, on bargain hunting after a sharp retreat in the benchmark Nikkei Index this week, while overnight Wall Street gains on economic recovery hopes also supported the sentiment, Reuters Reported.

Tech start-up investor SoftBank Group rose 1.73% and was the top contributor to Nikkei, while chip-related shares Tokyo Electron and Advantest jumped 1.7% and 3.29%, respectively.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

Asia-Pacific Markets Finish Mixed; Chip Plant Fire Drives Japan’s Nikkei 2% Lower

The major Asia-Pacific stock indexes finished mixed on Monday with Japan’s benchmark taking a major hit for a second straight session and as investors monitored the financial markets for a reaction to the plunge in the Turkish Lira following a sudden upheaval at the country’s central bank over the weekend. In Japan, investors continued to react the Bank of Japan’s (BOJ) decision to remove guidance to buy exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

In the cash market on Monday, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index settled at 29174.15, down 617.90 or -2.07%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index finished at 28885.34, down 105.60 or -0.36% and South Korea’s KOSPI Index closed at 3035.46, down 4.07 or -0.13%.

In China, the benchmark Shanghai Index settled at 3443.44, up 38.78 or +1.14% and in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 Index finished at 6752.50, up 44.30 or +0.66%.

Plunging Turkish Lira Fuels Cautious Trade

Asia-Pacific traders eyed the Turkish Lira on Monday, with the currency dropping more than 8% to 7.7983 against the greenback, compared to levels below 7.5 per dollar seen last week. Earlier, the Lira had weakened to as much as 8.1745 against the greenback.

The plunge was triggered after the country’s central bank saw another upheaval, with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan abruptly replacing its chief just days after a sharp interest rate hike.

China Stocks End Higher on Banking, Infrastructure Boost

China stocks ended higher on Monday, underpinned by banking and infrastructure shares, as the country’s central bank kept its key lending rate for corporate and household loans unchanged.

The session’s gains came in after a four-week losing streak as investors pulled out of highly valued sectors amid policy tightening fears.

Leading the gains, the CSI300 Banks Index rose 2.3%, while the CSI300 Infrastructure Index added 3%.

In other news, China kept its benchmark lending rate for corporate and household loans unchanged for an 11th straight month at its March fixing on Monday, matching market expectations.

China’s monetary policy needs to focus on supporting economic growth in a targeted way while also reducing financial risks, the central bank head said.

Japanese Shares Tumble after Chip Plant Fire, Car Makers Hit

Japanese shares tumbled on Monday as car makers took a hit after a fire at a plant owned by semiconductor supplier Renesas Electronics fanned worries about more chip supply shortfalls hitting vehicle production.

Meanwhile, the Nikkei continued to underperform the broader market, after the Bank of Japan said on Friday it would no longer purchase Nikkei-linked exchange traded funds (ETFs).

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

Asia-Pacific Stock Indexes Finish Lower as Worries over Sino-US Tensions Dampened Risk Appetite

The major Asia-Pacific stock indexes closed lower on Friday as investor sentiment faded, following the weaker trade on Wall Street in the overnight session. A plunge in U.S. technology shares was the biggest drag in the region, while rising Treasury yields were the catalysts driving the price action.

In the cash market on Friday, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index settled at 29792.05, down 424.70 or -1.41%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index finished at 28990.94, down 414.78 or -1.41% and South Korea’s KOSPI Index closed at 3039.53, down 26.48 or -0.86%.

In China, the benchmark Shanghai Index settled at 3404.66, down 58.40 or -1.69% and in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 Index finished at 6708.20, down 37.70 or -0.56%.

Japan’s Nikkei Dips on BOJ’s ETF Purchase Plan; Topix at 30-year High

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei Index fell while the broader Topix hit a 30-year high, as the Bank of Japan (BOJ) said it would only buy Topix-linked exchange traded funds after a review of its policy-framework.

The Nikkei’s fall accelerated after the BOJ said it would only buy ETFs that are linked to the Topix Index. It also said it would buy up to 12 trillion Yen ($110.21 billion) at most, and slightly broadened a trading band for its 10-year bond yield target, as widely expected.

The so-called NT ratio of the Nikkei and Topix dropped to 14.81 from 15.04 on Thursday. It had hit a record high of 15.68 earlier this month.

“The impact of the BOJ’s move on the Nikkei will be limited,” said Shingo Ide, chief equity strategist at NLI Research Institute. “It will contribute to a healthy correction in the NT ratio.”

Hong Kong Stocks Fall as Yields Spike, Rough Sino-US Talks Weigh

Hong Kong stocks ended lower on Friday, with energy shares leading the decline, as a spike in U.S. 10-year yields overnight and a rough start to China-U.S. bilateral talks weighed on investor sentiment.

The sub-index of the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index fell 1.63%. The sub-index of the Hang Seng tracking energy shares dipped 4.23%, while the materials sector dipped 3.68%, and the healthcare sector ended 3.15% lower.

Meanwhile, China and the United States leveled sharp rebukes here of each others’ policies in the first high-level talks of the Biden administration on Thursday, with deeply strained relations of the two global rivals on rare public display during the meeting’s opening session in Alaska.

Worries over Sino-U.S. tensions dampened risk appetite even as concerns over lofty valuations persisted, said Yan Kaiwen, an analyst with China Fortune Securities Co.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

Stocks Keep Spirits up Before Fed Meets

By Ritvik Carvalho

European shares extended a rally that began on Wall Street on Monday and continued into Asia, with the pan-region STOXX 600 index up 0.5%. On Monday, the index touched its highest level in more than a year before ending flat.

Britain’s FTSE 100 index rose 0.7%, Germany’s DAX 0.6%, France’s CAC 40 0.2% and Italy’s FTSE MIB index 0.6%.

E-mini futures for the S&P 500 hit a record high before trading flat on the day.

MSCI’s All Country World Index, which tracks stocks across 49 countries, rose 0.2% to its highest levels since Feb 25.

An index of Asia-Pacific share markets excluding Japan gained 0.65%, led by a 0.8% jump in Australia’s benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 gained 0.5% to just below the 30,000 mark. The broader Topix added 0.65%.

China’s blue-chip CSI 300 index climbed 0.87% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 0.67%.

“The stock markets have kept their spirits up ahead of tomorrow’s important Fed announcement,” said Karl Steiner, chief quantitative strategist at SEB.

On Monday, the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average both soared on gains in travel stocks as mass vaccinations in the United States and congressional approval of a $1.9 trillion aid bill fueled investor optimism.

Longer-term U.S. Treasury yields slipped further on Tuesday, as the market looked ahead to government debt auctions and the Fed’s two-day policy meeting, which will conclude on Wednesday.

The benchmark 10-year yield, which reached a more than one-year high of 1.642% last week, was back at 1.6004%.

The earlier surge in yields stemmed from investors speculating that rising inflation expectations could prompt the Federal Open Market Committee to signal it will start raising rates sooner than expected.

“We think the FOMC will have a hard time expressing concern about asset markets with the S&P at an all-time high on 12 March, despite 10Y U.S. Treasury yields at post-February 2020 highs,” said analysts Steve Englander and John Davies at Standard Chartered.

“Focus has been on the FOMC ‘dot plot’ in recent days, but if the FOMC and Fed Chair (Jerome) Powell do not push back against current yield levels, investors are likely to take yields higher as better data arrives.”

Fed policymakers are expected to forecast that the U.S. economy will grow in 2021 by the fastest rate in decades, as it recovers from a coronavirus-stricken 2020.

The Bank of England also meets this week on Thursday and the Bank of Japan wraps up a two-day meeting on Friday.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 174.82 points, or 0.53%, to 32,953.46, the S&P 500 gained 25.6 points, or 0.65%, to 3,968.94 and the Nasdaq Composite remained unchanged.

Airline shares rose as the companies pointed to concrete signs of an industry recovery as vaccine rollouts help spur leisure bookings.

The outlook for post-pandemic recoveries continued to diverge between the U.S. and Europe.

President Joe Biden’s order to make vaccination available to all adults by May 1 contrasted with stuttering rollouts in Germany, France and elsewhere, where use of the AstraZeneca vaccine has been suspended amid concern over possible side effects.

However, Kyle Rodda, an analyst at IG Markets, said the prospect of a slower economic recovery in Europe didn’t appear to be a major handicap for investors.

“It doesn’t seem to be the view that this is a real risk,” he said. “Investors are wary, but not worried.”

In currencies, the U.S. dollar held small gains from overnight, with caution evident ahead of the central bank meetings.

The dollar was largely flat at 109.19 yen, after rising as high as 109.365 on Monday for the first time since June.

The euro was little changed at $1.1930, holding for an eighth session below the $1.20 level.

Bitcoin halted its slide from a record high of $61,781.83 reached on Saturday, last trading 1% higher on the day around $56,250.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude for April changed hands at $64.74 a barrel, down 1%. Brent crude futures for May stood at $68.22 a barrel, losing 1%.

(This story corrects U.S. 10-year Treasury yield to 1.6004%)

(Reporting by Ritvik Carvalho; additional reporting by Kevin Buckland and Kane Wu in Tokyo; editing by Larry King)

Asia-Pacific Shares Set to Open Higher after Another Record Performance on Wall Street

The major Asia-Pacific stock indexes are expected to open higher on Tuesday, mirroring the price action in the U.S. markets in the overnight session.

After a mostly sideways trade, U.S. stock indexes climbed, with the benchmark S&P 500 Index and the blue chip Dow hitting intraday record highs. Optimism over the reopening of the U.S. economy offset concerns over the start of the two-day Federal Reserve meeting on Tuesday.

On Monday, the Asia-Pacific markets finished mixed as a few of the major indexes pared some of their gains while other struggled to advance.

In the cash market, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index settled at 29766.97, up 49.14 or +0.17%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index finished at 28833.76, up 94.04 or +0.33% and South Korea’s KOSPI Index closed at 3045.71, down 8.68 or -0.28%.

In China, the benchmark Shanghai Index settled at 3419.95, down 33.13 or -0.96% and in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 Index finished at 6773.00.

China Stocks End Lower as Policy Tightening Worries Persist

China shares closed lower on Monday, with heavyweight consumer, healthcare and new energy stocks leading the losses, as the recent conservative annual economic growth target reignited fears Beijing could tighten policy to reign in lofty valuations.

Growth shares have come under intense pressure globally in recent weeks amid rising inflation fears. Such stocks have been hit especially hard in China due to fears that authorities are keen to reduce generous, pandemic-era stimulus.

China’s regulators also have told banks to trim their loan books this year to guard against risks emerging from bubbles in domestic financial markets.

Japan Shares Edge Up as Stimulus Cheer Lifts Cyclicals

Japanese shares inched higher on Monday as optimism around the passage of a massive U.S. stimulus package boosted cyclical stocks, although declines in Softbank Group and other tech companies limited gains.

“Investors are buying cyclical shares that would benefit from a recovery of the U.S. economy, which would be accelerated by the huge economic package that was approved,” said Shoichi Arisawa, general manager of the investment research department at IwaiCosmo Securities.

South Korean Stocks End Lower as US Yields Rise; Fed Meeting Eyed

South Korean shares closed lower on Monday, dragged by worries about rising U.S. bond yields, with investors now eyeing the U.S. Federal Reserve’s policy meeting this week. But, the losses were limited by optimism around the passage of a $1.9 trillion stimulus from the United States and better-than-expected Chinese industrial output data.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

Asia-Pacific Shares Mostly Higher Despite Increasing Concerns Over US-China Relations

The major Asia-Pacific stock index futures finished mostly higher on Friday with Hong Kong shares the lone loser after taking a hit from late session selling. The other majors took their cues from Wall Street’s strong performance the previous session.

The catalysts behind the markets’ strength were lower Treasury yields which eased some of the recent pain for technology sector traders, upbeat initial claims data that provided some support for the labor market recovery and President Joe Biden’s signing of the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package that is expected to give the economy an extra boost.

In the cash market on Friday, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index settled at 29717.93, up 506.19 or +1.73%. Hong Kong’s Seng Index finished at 28739.72, down 645.89 or -2.20% and South Korea’s KOSPI Index closed at 3054.39, up 40.69 or +1.35%.

China’s Shanghai Index settled at 3453.08, up 16.25 or +0.47% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index finished at 6766.80, up 52.90 or +0.79%.

China Stocks Post Weekly Drop on Policy Tightening Worries

China shares posted a weekly loss on Friday as a conservative 2021 economic growth target sparked fears Beijing could tighten policy to rein in lofty valuations, though infrastructure firms helped benchmark stocks indexes eke out gains for the day.

Last Friday, China set a modest annual economic growth target, at above 6%, which was significantly below the consensus of analysts, who had expected growth could beat 8% this year.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang defended the government’s target for more than 6% economic growth this year, saying it was “not low”, and policies would not be dramatically loosened to chase higher growth.

A lower economic growth target gives China room to rein in frothiness in the market even as inflation fears grow, said analysts.

Once high-flying sectors with lofty valuations had been the hardest hit in recent weeks.

Hong Kong Stocks End Week Lower on Sino-US Tensions

Hong Kong stocks fell on Friday to post weekly losses, weighed down by weakness in tech firms on worries about the latest Sino-U.S. tensions.

The United States on Thursday condemned Chinese moves to change Hong Kong’s electoral system and forecast “difficult” talks with Beijing’s top diplomats next week.

China again warned the United States to stop interfering in its affairs, including Hong Kong, foreign ministry spokesman said on Friday.

Shares of Huawei suppliers retreated as the U.S. administration added new limits on those companies.

The Hang Seng Tech Index, which is sensitive to the developments of Sino-U.S. relations, closed down 2.1%, having lost 23% from an all-time high hit just three weeks ago, Reuters reported.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

World Stocks Hit Highest in a Week as Inflation Scare Fades

By Ritvik Carvalho

European stocks climbed, with the pan-European STOXX 600 index reaching a one-year peak and up 0.2% on the day. France’s CAC 40 index rose 0.14%, and Italy’s FTSEMIB 0.8%%. Britain’s FTSE 100 index fell 0.36% and Germany’s DAX traded flat. [.EU]

MSCI’s All Country World Index, which tracks stocks across 49 countries, rose to its highest in just over a week, up 0.7% on the day.

Earlier in Asia, an index of regional stocks excluding Japan rose 1.78%, led by a 2.3% surge in South Korea’s Kospi, and was on track for its first three-day advance in three weeks.

China’s Shanghai Composite rallied 1.9%, helped by local lending data. Japan’s Nikkei 225 gained 0.5%.

E-mini futures for the U.S. S&P 500 index gained to their highest in two weeks, up 0.7%.

Relative calm in the Treasuries market also helped risk sentiment, with the benchmark yield settling as low as 1.4750% after shooting to a one-year high above 1.6% last week as investors worried the U.S. economic recovery would run too hot.

“If we look at history, we see that when yields have gone up, after a while equity markets have generally been okay,” said Justin Onuekwusi, portfolio manager at Legal & General Investment Management. “The only time you really see both equities and bonds sell off is in periods when there is a significant inflation scare.”

At this point ,with unemployment still so high, it is hard to see inflation becoming a problem, Onuekwusi said. Higher yields could be read as showing “that we are actually getting out of the quagmire we have been in.”

“And there is a natural yield cap — central banks will step in when rates move too quickly. They are differentiating between levels of yield and speed at which yields move.”

The European Central Bank sets its policy on Thursday and is likely to signal faster money printing to keep a lid on borrowing costs but stop short of adding firepower to its already aggressive pandemic-fighting package.

The U.S. Labor Department said its consumer price index rose 0.4% in February, in line with expectations, after a 0.3% increase in January. Core CPI, which excludes volatile food and energy components, edged up 0.1%, just shy of the 0.2% estimate.

Analysts largely expect inflation to pick up as vaccine rollouts lead to a reopening of the economy, but worries persist that additional stimulus in the form of a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package set to be signed by U.S. President Joe Biden could overheat the economy.

Investors will now eye an auction of 30-year debt on Thursday, seeking to cover massive shorts. A weak seven-year auction in late February helped fuel inflation concerns and sent yields higher.

“Rises in U.S. bond yields appear to have subsided a bit after the 10-year yield has reached 1.5%, even though many investors remain cautious before the Fed’s policy meeting,” said Naoya Oshikubo, senior economist at Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Asset Management.

“The Fed has ratcheted up its rhetoric on bond yields lately. The reality is, the economy is in a K-shaped recovery, with the service sector still in difficult conditions and the Fed would probably not want to let real interest rates rise.”

The dollar remained weaker following the economic data. The dollar index fell to its lowest in a week, 91.547.

The euro, on the other hand, rose to its highest in a week, at $1.19685. The safe-haven yen traded flat at 108.425 per dollar. [FRX/]

Oil prices resumed their climb following two days of declines, after the Energy Information Administration reported a storage grew more than expected. [O/R]

U.S. crude futures rose 0.7% to $64.94 per barrel. Brent crude futures rose 0.8% to $68.46 per barrel.

(Reporting by Ritvik Carvalho; additional reporting by Sujata Rao in London and Kevin Buckland in Tokyo; editing by Larry King)


Asia-Pacific Shares Mostly Higher as Wall Street Sets Friendly Tone

The major Asia-Pacific stock indexes finished mixed but mostly higher on Thursday as investors followed Wall Street’s relatively strong close as Treasury yields dipped in response to mild U.S. consumer inflation data and adequate demand at an auction for the 10-year Treasury notes. The markets were also underpinned after U.S. lawmakers announced the passage of a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package.

In the cash market on Thursday, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index settled at 29211.64, up 175.08 or +0.60%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index finished at 29385.61, up 478.09 or +1.65% and South Korea’s KOSPI Index closed at 3013.70, up 55.58 or +1.88%.

In China, the Shanghai Index settled at 3436.83, up 79.09 or +2.36% and in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 finished at 6713.90, down 0.20 or 0.00%.

China Stocks Jump on Better-than-Expected Bank Lending Data, Sino-US Meeting in Focus

China stocks jumped on Thursday, as better-than-expected February bank lending data lifted market sentiment and relieved some policy tightening worries.

Official data showed that new bank lending in China fell less than expected in February from January as the central bank sought to cool credit growth to contain debt risks while maintaining support for ailing small firms.

Sino-U.S. relations re-emerged as another key focus, with some market hopes for de-escalation in the ties between the world’s two largest economies. Chinese diplomats will meet with U.S. officials in Alaska on March 18 and 19, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said on Thursday.

South Korea Shares Post Biggest Jump in 2 Weeks as Inflation Worries, Bond Yields Ease

South Korean shares snapped a five-session losing streak posted on Thursday, posting their biggest single-day jump in two weeks, as subdued U.S. consumer price data calmed inflation worries.

“Investors took relief from the U.S. consumer prices data that inflationary pressure will be weaker than expected, which pulled down the bond yields but boosting Asian shares,” said Seo Jung-hun, analyst Samsung Securities.

U.S. consumer prices increased solidly in February, with households paying more for gasoline, but underlying inflation remained tepid.

Further boosting the sentiment was South Korea’s preliminary exports data, which jumped 25.2% from a year earlier during March 1-10 period.

Japanese Shares Gain on Cyclicals Boost, Selling in Some Heavyweights Weighs

Japanese shares inched higher on Thursday as investors picked up beaten-down cyclical stocks while cutting their positions in some index heavyweights.

“Growth-related shares have helped the market, but a sell-off in index heavyweights has also weighed,” said Koichi Kurose, chief strategist, Resona Asset Management.

Chip-related shares fell, with Tokyo Electron declining 1.72% and Advantest losing 0.72%. Both the stocks weighed on the benchmark Nikkei Index, along with medical equipment maker Terumo and drug maker Astellas Pharma, losing 1.24% to 2.31%.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

Asia-Pacific Shares Finish Mixed as Early Gains Fade on China Tightening Concerns

The major Asia-Pacific stock indexes finished mixed on Wednesday after shares in Australia, Japan and South Korea gave up most of their earlier gains. Helping to underpin the market was stronger risk appetite as global bond yields dipped and confidence grew that a massive U.S. stimulus package will be approved on Wednesday.

In the cash market on Wednesday, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index settled at 29036.56, up 8.62 or +0.03%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index finished at 28907.52, up 134.29 or +0.47% and South Korea’s KOSPI Index closed at 2958.12, down 18.00 or -0.60%.

China’s Shanghai index settled at 3357.74, down 1.55 or -0.05% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index finished at 6714.10, down 57.10 or -0.84%.

The session in the Asia-Pacific region was impressive early in the session as investors followed Wall Street’s lead where bond yields declined and tech stocks soared.

“Global equities pushed higher as risk appetite returned, according to a Wednesday morning note from analysts at ANZ Research. “Investor confidence was buoyed by expectations that (U.S. President Joe) Biden’s $1.9 trillion fiscal stimulus package will soon be approved.

Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives are aiming to pass the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill on Wednesday so that Biden can sign it by the weekend.

Hong Kong Shares Boosted by Strong Tech Stock Performance

Hong Kong shares closed higher on Wednesday, led by tech stocks as the NASDAQ Index surged on Wall Street on a retreat in U.S. bond yields. Gains may have been capped, however, by fears of policy tightening in China.

The Hang Seng China Enterprises index rose 0.79% to 11,059.67. The IT sub-index climbed 2.64%, while the energy sector dipped 1.6%.

South Korean Shares Decline for Fifth Session

South Korean shares closed lower for a fifth straight session on Wednesday, as uncertainties around volatile Chinese markets spooked investors even after the tech-heavy NASDAQ Index rebounded overnight.

There are doubts about whether a rout in China will stabilize, especially as Chinese inflation and producer prices exceeded expectations, said Lee Kyoung-min, an analyst at Daishin Securities.

Among the heavyweight companies, technology giant Samsung Electronics fell 0.61 percent and peer SK Hynix fell 2.56 percent, while LG Chem rose 3.48 percent and Naver rose 2.90 percent.

China’s Blue-Chip Index Ends Higher, Policy Tightening Worries Cap Gains

China’s benchmark index closed lower, but the country’s blue chip shares closed higher on Wednesday, a day after it hit a near 3-month low, although gains were capped by lingering concerns of policy tightening as the economy recovers.

In economic news, China’s factory gate prices rose at the fastest pace since November 2018 in February as manufacturers raced to fill export orders, raising expectations for robust growth in the world’s second-largest economy in 2021.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

Asia-Pacific Shares Tumble on Resurgent Worries Over Rising US Bond Yields

The major Asia-Pacific stock indexes finish lower across the board on Thursday, led by a steep drop in technology shares, fueled by a similar move on Wall Street on Wednesday. The catalyst behind both moves was a rise in bond yields.

During the U.S. session, the 10-year Treasury yield ticked up to 1.47%, pressuring areas of the market with high valuations. It was still off last week’s peak of above 1.61% that roiled stock markets as investors bet on rising inflation.

Rising interest rates disproportionately hurt high-growth companies in both the U.S. and Asia because investors value them based on earnings expected years into the future, and high interest rates hurt the value of futures earnings more than the value of earnings made in the short-term.

In the cash market on Thursday, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index settled at 28930.11, down 628.99 or -2.13%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index finished at 29236.79, down 643.63 or -2.15% and South Korea’s KOSPI Index closed at 3043.49, down 39.50 or -1.28%.

In China, the Shanghai Index settled at 3503.49, down 73.41 or -2.06% and in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 Index finished at 6760.70, down 57.30 or -0.84%.

Global Selling Trips Australian Shares

Australian shares fell on Thursday as renewed worries about rising U.S. bond yields soured risk sentiment globally.

The S&P/ASX 200 Index was also weighed down by miners Rio Tinto and BHP Group and supermarket chain Woolworths Group as they traded ex-dividend.

Tech stocks fell 1.5%, tracking a sell-off in U.S. peers. Buy-now-pay-later firm Afterpay slid more than 2%, while Xero Ltd shed 3%.

In economic news, Australia’s January retail sales increased 0.5% month on month on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to data published Thursday by the Bureau of Statistics. That compared against expectations for a 0.6% increase in a Reuters poll.

The country also recorded a trade surplus of 10.142 billion Australian Dollars (about $7.88 billion), higher than expectations in a Reuters poll for a 6.5 billion Australian Dollar trade surplus.

Hong Kong Stocks End Lower on Material, Tech Firms

Hong Kong shares dropped on Thursday, weighed down by losses in material and tech stocks, as equities globally retreated on renewed doubts over monetary support after another rise in U.S. Treasury yields. The sub-index of the Hang Seng tracking tech shares dipped 5.8%, while the IT sector dropped 5.3%, and the material sector ended 6.4% lower.

Japan’s Nikkei Hits 1-Month Low as US Futures Slump

Japan’s Nikkei Index on Thursday dropped to its lowest in one month, as investors sold off heavyweights including SoftBank Group and Fast Retailing, tracking a slump in U.S. futures during the Asian trade.

SoftBank Group fell 5.19% in the wake of news that British supply chain finance firm Greensill Capital, which is backed by the Japanese conglomerate, was in talks to sell large parts of its business.

“There are uncertainties in the move of U.S. bond yields, which has made the market outlook unclear,” said Masahiro Ichikawa, chief market strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

Asia-Pacific Markets Post Solid Gains; Aussie Shares Higher after GDP Rose 3.1%

The major Asia-Pacific stock indexes were sharply higher on Wednesday as a private survey showed slowing services sector activity in China last month. Investors likely interpreted the news to mean the Chinese economy is not heating up as previously thought, thereby raising the possibility that current stimulus measures would be extended.

In the cash market on Wednesday, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index settled at 29559.10, up 150.93 or +0.51%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index is trading 29836.51, up 740.65 or +2.55% and South Korea’s KOSPI Index finished at 3082.99, up 39.12 or +1.29%.

China’s Shanghai Index settled at 3576.90, up 68.31 or +1.95% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index finished at 6818.00, up 55.70 or +0.82%.

China’s Services Sector Grows at Slowest Rate in 10 Months in February:  Caixin PMI

China’s services sector activity grew at its slowest pace in 10 months in February as firms struggled with sluggish demand and high costs, a private sector survey showed on Wednesday, prompting them to cut jobs.

The Caixin/Markit Services Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) fell to 51.5, the lowest since April, from 52.0 in January but remained above the 50-mark that separates growth from contraction on a monthly basis. Investors shrugged off the results from the report, expecting better numbers in the future.

“We expect manufacturing and services PMIs to recover in March, as the COVID-19 situation was quickly brought under control in recent weeks. Beijing may gradually relax some social distancing rules in coming months and some pent-up demand could be released,” Nomura wrote.

China Stocks Gain the Most in 3 Weeks on Growth Optimism

China stocks posted their biggest one-day gain in three weeks on Wednesday, led by banking and commodity shares, as hopes of domestic economic growth offset fears of tighter monetary policy. Some traders also attributed the market strength to bullishness ahead of the annual gathering of the National People’s Congress, which starts on Friday.

China’s top banking watchdog said on Tuesday regulators were studying effective measures to reduce the risk of foreign capital inflows. The remark is interpreted by some as pointing to Beijing’s little willingness to lift interest rates, a move that could invite more inflows.

Larry Hu, an economist at Macquarie Capital Ltd, said that there’s no need to worry about inflation in China. For 2021, we expect China to see reinflation, but not high inflation,” Hu wrote. “The reinflation trend is great news to COVID losers such as financials and industrial companies.”

Australia Shares Climb as Strong GDP Growth Cements Recovery Hopes

Australian shares climbed on Wednesday after a much faster-than-expected economic growth in the final quarter of 2020 cemented hopes of a stronger recovery this year. Data showed the economy accelerated 3.1% in the December quarter, higher than forecasts for a 2.5% rise.

A very low community transmission of COVID-19, coupled with massive and timely fiscal and monetary stimulus, has led to a strong rebound in the economy.

“The big picture is that while the initial recovery through the first half of 2021 may still be subject to air-pockets and jobs vulnerabilities linger…Australia is unambiguously on a surer path to sustained recovery,” Mizuho analysts said in a note.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.