Asian Shares Rise On Russia-Ukraine Optimism

Asian stocks rose broadly on Wednesday amid optimism around a peaceful resolution of the Ukraine war. Russia on Tuesday promised to scale down military operations around Ukraine’s capital Kyiv, while Ukraine proposed adopting a neutral status in face-to-face negotiations.

Chinese shares led regional gains as investors awaited more stimulus measures to support slowing growth. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index jumped 2 percent to close at 3,266.60, led by gains in the property sector. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rallied 1.4 percent to finish at 22,232.03.

Japanese shares bucked the regional trend to end lower, as investors booked profits heading into the end of the fiscal year. The Nikkei 225 Index fell 225 points, or 0.8 percent, to settle at 28,027.25 after having hit a 10-week high in the previous session.

Nintendo shares plunged 5.8 percent after the video game maker delayed the launch of a much-awaited game. Shippers declined on fears of easing demand, with Nippon Yusen losing as much as 8.6 percent.

In economic releases, retail sales data released earlier in the day disappointed, adding to fears of a stalled recovery.

Australian markets rose for the seventh straight session, with technology companies and financials leading the surge on hopes of a possible end to the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index closed 0.7 percent higher at 7,514.50 as the government unveiled a stimulatory budget ahead of this year’s federal election.

Block Inc. shares soared 6.1 percent, while Xero surged 5.3 percent to its highest level since mid-February. Mining and energy stocks underperformed as commodity prices eased from their peaks.

Seoul stocks eked out modest gains, with the Kospi edging up 0.2 percent to 2,746.74, extending gains for the second straight session. SK Hynix, Naver, Hyundai Motor and Samsung Biologics were among the prominent gainers.

New Zealand shares joined the global rally as investors took heart from positive Russia-Ukraine talks. The benchmark NZX-50 Index rose 1.5 percent to close at 12,098.80.

Transportation technology services firm Eroad topped the gainers list to surge as much as 9.9 percent, while National carrier Air New Zealand fell 1.8 percent before trading was halted for a capital raising.

U.S. stocks posted strong gains overnight as commodity prices declined on signs of encouraging progress in the cease-fire talks between Russia and Ukraine in Turkey.

The Dow climbed 1 percent to book a fourth straight day of gains and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite added 1.8 percent, while the S&P 500 gained 1.2 percent, exiting the correction it entered in February.

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