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Asian stocks edge higher from weekly losses, more rate cues awaited

Published 05/26/2024, 10:49 PM
© Reuters.
- -- Most Asian stocks advanced on Monday, recovering some ground from losses seen last week, amid anticipation over more cues on U.S. inflation and interest rates in the coming days. 

Regional markets took some positive cues from a strong close on Wall Street on Friday, as gains in technology stocks helped the NASDAQ Composite mark a record-high close.

U.S. stock index futures fell slightly in Asian trade, with volumes expected to remain low with the Memorial Day holiday.

China edges higher, industrial profits improve 

China’s Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 and Shanghai Composite indexes rose about 0.1%, recovering mildly from losses seen last week. 

Data on Monday showed Chinese industrial profits grew at a steady pace in April from the prior month, signaling steady improvement in one of the country’s biggest industries.

But cooling optimism over recent stimulus measures from Beijing kept gains in Chinese markets limited. While the government announced a slew of supportive measures for the economy, particularly the housing market, analysts questioned just how these measures will be executed and funded.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell 0.4% on losses in mainland stocks. 

Asian stocks see limited gains, PCE data awaited 

Gains across most Asian markets were limited, as anticipation of key U.S. inflation data later this week kept investors on edge. 

PCE price index data- the Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation gauge- is on tap this Friday, and is expected to factor into the outlook for U.S. rates.

Dwindling expectations of U.S. interest rate cuts were a key weight on Asian stocks last week, as traders largely priced out bets on a cut in September. 

Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.3%, as did the broader TOPIX index. Key inflation, retail sales and industrial production data from Japan is also due later this week.

South Korea’s KOSPI added 0.7%, buoyed by some gains in technology stocks. Hype over artificial intelligence, especially after blowout results from AI darling NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ:NVDA), drove memory chip maker SK Hynix Inc (KS:000660) up 4% to a record high.

China, Japan and South Korea were also seen starting trilateral trade talks. 

Australia’s ASX 200 rose 0.7% as it rebounded from losses last week.

Futures for India’s Nifty 50 index pointed to a mildly positive open, with the index remaining in sight of recent record highs.

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