Asian Shares Mixed After China’s Stimulus Vow
Asian stocks ended broadly lower on Friday, even as mainland Chinese and Hong Kong markets rallied after China’s cabinet pledged more policy steps to help the world’s second-largest economy recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
A cautious undertone prevailed elsewhere on concerns that aggressive monetary tightening by major central banks to cool inflation could lead to a slowdown in global growth.
China’s yuan rose to a one-week high and the yen tumbled from a two-week high after the BoJ rate decision, while oil prices edged lower but stayed above $115 per barrel.
China’s Shanghai Composite Index jumped 1 percent to 3,316.79, a day after Beijing declared an initial victory in its latest battle with COVID-19. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index climbed 1.1 percent to 21,075, led by gains in tech stocks.
Goldman Sachs analysts said in a report they are “overweight” on China as monetary, fiscal, property, regulation and COVID policies have all seen loosening.
Japanese shares tumbled as the country’s central bank wrapped up a two-day meeting with no major changes to its ultra-low interest rates.
The Nikkei 225 Index slumped 1.8 percent to 25,963, marking its lowest close since May 12 and ending down about 6.6 percent for the week – the sharpest loss in more than two years. The broader Topix closed 1.7 percent lower at 1,835.90, losing 5.5 percent for the week.
Tech and auto stocks bore the brunt of the selling, with Toyota Motor, Advantest, SoftBank and Tokyo Electron falling 4-5 percent.
Seoul stocks closed lower as inflation and recession woes deepened. The Kospi dropped 0.4 percent to 2,440.93. Market bellwether Samsung Electronics fell 1.8 percent to 59,800 won – closing below 60,000 won for the first time since November 4, 2020.
Australian markets tumbled, with tech stocks leading the rout. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index plunged 1.8 percent to 6,474.80, while the broader All Ordinaries Index closed 1.8 percent lower at 6,663.30.
Block Inc. shares slumped 7.8 percent and Xero lost 5.6 percent. GUD Holdings plummeted 19.6 percent after the automotive parts maker lowered its annual earnings guidance.
New Zealand’s benchmark index S&P/NZX 50 Index closed 0.5 percent lower at 10,589.19, with Skellerup and Tourism Holdings losing 5-7 percent.
U.S. stocks tumbled in a broad sell-off overnight as disappointing housing, regional manufacturing activity and labor market data fanned worries of a recession.
The Dow plunged 2.4 percent, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite plummeted 4.1 percent and the S&P 500 shed 3.3 percent to reach their lowest closing levels in well over a year.
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