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Asian stocks surge as Fed rate hike bets recede; China data on tap

Published 11/05/2023, 08:55 PM
©  Reuters

Investing.com-- Most Asian stocks rose sharply on Monday as weaker-than-expected U.S. payrolls data furthered expectations that the Federal Reserve was done with its rate hike cycle, while focus also turned to upcoming economic readings from China. 

Regional stocks have been on a tear since Thursday, after the Fed provided somewhat less hawkish signals than markets had feared, bumping up expectations of an end to any more hikes.

But weaker-than-expected nonfarm payrolls data on Friday was the biggest proponent of this notion, given that it signaled cooling in the U.S. jobs market, which has been a major pain point for the Fed. 

Wall Street indexes surged after Friday's reading, providing a positive lead-in to Asian shares on Monday. Traders were pricing in a greater chance of no more rate hikes by the Fed, and that the central bank will begin trimming rates by mid-2024. 

Technology-heavy indexes were the best performers for the day, tracking a sustained decline in the dollar and U.S. Treasuries. South Korea’s KOSPI rallied 3.8% to an over two-week high. 

The KOSPI was also boosted by the South Korean government announcing a complete ban on short-selling in local markets. The move comes after the government slapped two global banks with record fines last month for naked short selling.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 jumped 2.2%, also taking support from data that showed the country’s services sector grew more than expected in October. The Nikkei was at an over one-month high, and was set for a fourth straight session of gains after the Bank of Japan also struck a dovish tone last week. 

Key Japanese corporate earnings, from SoftBank Group Corp. (TYO:9984) and Sony Corp (TYO:6758), are also on tap this week. 

Australia’s ASX 200 rose 0.3%, crossing the 7,000 level for the first time in over two weeks. 

Heavyweight bank stocks were among the top boosts to the ASX, with Westpac Banking Corp (ASX:WBC) up 3.3% after clocking a 26% jump in its annual profit and announcing a $975 million share buyback.

But broader gains in Australian stocks were somewhat limited in anticipation of a Reserve Bank of Australia meeting on Tuesday. The central bank is widely expected to hike rates by 25 basis points, following a resurgence in inflation over the past quarter. 

Futures for India’s Nifty 50 index pointed to a positive open, after strength in tech stocks drove the index to a two-week high on Friday. 

Chinese stocks rise before trade, inflation data 

China’s Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 rose 0.7%, while the Shanghai Composite index added 0.5%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index jumped 1.5%, buoyed chiefly by heavyweight tech stocks. 

Focus this week is on key trade and inflation readings from Asia’s largest economy, which are expected to offer more insight into a sluggish economic recovery.

The data comes after a string of weak business activity readings from China for October, which severely dented sentiment towards local markets. 

But the economic weakness is also expected to attract more stimulus measures from Beijing, with the government recently announcing a 1 trillion yuan ($140 billion) bond issuance in the fourth quarter.

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