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Asian stocks rangebound with Fed minutes, Nvidia earnings in focus

Published 05/21/2024, 11:00 PM
© Reuters.

Investing.com-- Most Asian stocks moved in a flat-to-low range on Wednesday as investors awaited more cues on U.S. interest rates from the minutes of the Federal Reserve’s recent meeting.

Cooling optimism over China dented sentiment towards regional markets, while investors were also wary of technology stocks before key earnings from market darling NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ:NVDA). 

Wall Street indexes saw a mildly positive session on Tuesday, providing middling cues to Asian markets as a string of Fed officials cautioned that sticky inflation could keep rates high for longer. But the S&P 500 and the NASDAQ Composite still eked out record highs on gains in tech. 

U.S. stock futures were rangebound in Asian trade. 

Japanese stocks dip after disappointing trade data

Japan’s Nikkei 225 and TOPIX indexes were the worst performers in Asia on Wednesday, falling 0.6% and 0.5%, respectively, following disappointing trade data from the country. 

Japan’s exports grew less than expected in April as demand in key markets, particularly China, remained weak, while imports also disappointed as local demand remained subdued. 

This saw the country log a bigger-than-expected trade deficit in the month. 

Tech stocks skittish ahead of Nvidia earnings

Asian technology stocks did not track overnight gains in their U.S. peers, with tech-heavy regional bourses keeping to a tight range ahead of key earnings from artificial intelligence major Nvidia, due after the U.S. close on Wednesday.

South Korea’s KOSPI was flat, while the Taiwan Weighted index rose marginally. Both indexes list some of Nvidia’s biggest Asian suppliers, such as SK Hynix Inc (KS:000660) and TSMC (TW:2330) (NYSE:TSM).

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was an exception, rising 0.6% as it steadied from bruising losses in the prior session. 

Nvidia is considered as a bellwether for the tech sector, given that the company is at the heart of a massive valuation spike on optimism over the fast-growing AI industry. 

The firm makes the most advanced AI chips currently available in the market, and is expected to clock an exponential increase in earnings on the back of an AI boom over the past year.

Asian shares muted as China optimism cools, Fed minutes loom 

Broader Asian markets kept to a tight range. China’s Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 and Shanghai Composite hovered below their 2024 peaks as optimism over more stimulus measures from Beijing appeared to be cooling, with investors now looking to more positive cues from the country to resume buying into local markets.

Australia’s ASX 200 was flat, having curbed a bulk of its intraday gains following somewhat hawkish signals from the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, which kept rates steady and said it saw delays in any potential cuts.

Futures for India’s Nifty 50 index pointed to a flat open, although the index is set to remain in sight of recent record highs.

Investors were on edge before the minutes of the Fed’s late-April meeting, which are expected to provide more insight into the bank’s stance on interest rates. 


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