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Asian stocks advance ahead of Chinese, U.S. inflation data -- Most Asian stocks rose on Monday, rebounding from recent losses following a rally on Wall Street, with focus now turning to upcoming inflation data from the world’s largest economies, due this week. China’s Shanghai Composite index was among the best performers for the day, up 1.6%, while the Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 index added 1%. Sentiment towards Chinese stocks somewhat improved in recent sessions following strong travel and consumer spending figures from the Golden Week holiday. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 0.8%, also aided by gains in locally listed Chinese stocks. Focus this week is on Chinese trade and inflation data, due on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, with investors seeking to gauge the state of an economic recovery in the country. China’s imports and exports have remained languid this year, while inflation dropped amid soft local demand. The country’s massive manufacturing sector is also still struggling to recover despite the lifting of most anti-COVID restrictions this year, with recent data showing that it unexpectedly contracted in April. Other Asian markets advanced on Monday, tracking a Friday rally on Wall Street as stronger-than-expected U.S. labor data quelled some fears of an imminent recession. The gains also helped regional markets recover from steep losses over the past two weeks, as fears of a U.S. banking collapse rattled risk-driven assets. South Korea’s KOSPI added 0.8%, while India's NSEI and BSESN indexes rose 0.7% and 0.5%, respectively, in early trade. Australia’s ASX 200 index rose 0.5%, aided by a 2% jump in shares of Westpac Banking Corp (ASX:WBC) after the lender logged a sharp jump in its half-year net profit. The bank benefited from improved lending margins as Australian interest rates rose. On the other hand, Japan’s Nikkei 225 index fell 0.8% in catch-up trade. Bigger gains in Asian markets were also held back as the strong U.S. labor data fueled increased uncertainty over how the Federal Reserve may act in the coming months. The bank hiked interest rates last week and signaled a data-driven approach to future rate action. But strength in the labor market gives the bank more impetus to keep raising rates. Focus is now squarely on U.S. consumer price index inflation data due on Wednesday. While the reading is expected to show that inflation eased further in April, it still remained well above the Fed’s 2% annual target. Later on Monday, markets are also awaiting a Fed survey of U.S. loan conditions, which is expected to provide more insight on a potential banking crisis in the country.

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