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Asian Stocks Up, Investors Digest Asian Economic Data, U.S. Infra Plan

Stock MarketsMar 31, 2021 11:34PM ET
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By Gina Lee

Investing.com – Asia Pacific stocks were up Thursday morning, beginning April on a high note as investors assessed economic data from China and Japan, as well as a new U.S. infrastructure plan.

China’s Shanghai Composite edged up 0.20% by 11:26 PM ET (3:26 AM GMT) and the Shenzhen Component rose 0.84%. Thursday's Caixin manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) for March disappointed, reading 50.6 against the 51.3 in forecasts prepared by Investing.com and February’s 50.9 reading.

The figure comes on the back of the positive manufacturing and non-manufacturing PMIs released on Wednesday. The Caixin services PMI will be released the following week.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 gained 0.73%, with the Tankan Large Manufacturers Index at 5 for the first quarter of 2021, above the –15 in forecasts prepared by Investing.com and the –10 reading in the fourth quarter of 2020. The Tankan Large Non-Manufacturers Index was at –1, against the –5 reading in both Investing.com forecasts and the fourth quarter of 2020.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index jumped 1.01%, even as trading in more than 50 Hong Kong-listed companies was suspended after several firms reportedly failed to report earnings ahead of the Mar. 31 deadline.

South Korea’s KOSPI gained 0.52% In Australia, theASX 200was up 0.22% as the third-biggest city of Brisbane lifted a three-day snap lockdown earlier in the day.

Benchmark 10-year Treasury yields steadied at 1.74%, after its worst quarterly performance since 1980 according to Bloomberg data.

Investor sentiment was also boosted by a $2.25 trillion infrastructure plan laid out by U.S. President Joe Biden on Wednesday. However, the plan will be funded with higher corporate taxes, which is likely to draw resistance when the plan is debated in Congress.

Central banks globally continued their support to keep borrowing costs low, contributing to a push for more investment into economic recovery. European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde on Wednesday warned, however, that policymakers will use all their powers should investors try to push bond yields higher.

Despite encouraging economic data over the past week, the number of global COVID-19 cases continues to grow. Clusters in regions led to fresh restrictive measures, with France entering its third lockdown and Canada’s Ontario province entering a 28-day lockdown, serving as a grim reminder that the fight against the virus is not over yet.

Some investors remained cautiously optimistic, however.

“There is still some room for recovery in stocks that will benefit from the economic recovery and the reopening trade... there’s still a lot of growth that has to come and that’s not necessarily reflected in earnings yet,” Cambiar Investors LLC investment principal Ania Aldrich told Bloomberg.

Asian Stocks Up, Investors Digest Asian Economic Data, U.S. Infra Plan
 

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