Asian Stocks Firm As Fed-fueled Flare-up Fades

Asian stocks traded firm on Friday, with all the major regional bourses and indicators gaining from Thursday’s close. Recent comments from U.S. government and Fed officials on the expected decline in inflation by the year-end and the assurance of no hurrying on interest rate increases continued to buoy stock market sentiment.

Chinese stocks followed the upbeat sentiment on Wall Street. The Shanghai Composite Index closed trade at 3,607.56 after adding 40.91 points or 1.2 percent from Thursday’s close.

The Japanese benchmark Nikkei 225 Index added 190.95 points or 0.7 percent to end the week at 29,066.18 amidst reports that showed increase in CPI from 101.40 to 101.70 and a decline in preliminary data on Manufacturing PMI from 53 to 51.5.

Mazda gained 6.2 percent, followed by Fujikura, which added 5.14 percent. Eisai was the biggest trailer with a 3.4 percent decline, followed by Kawasaki Kisen, which fell 0.9 percent.

The Hang Seng Index of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange gained 412.37 points or 1.4 percent in the day’s trade. The day’s high was at 29,313 and the day’s low level was at 28,948.

The Korean Stock Index Kospi closed at record high of 3,302.84 after adding 16.74 points or 0.5 percent from Thursday’s close. Sentiment was supported by the strong reading of 98, the highest since April 2011 in the Business Survey Index.

The S&P/ASX 200 Index, Australia’s leading share market index closed trade at 7,308 after gaining 32.70 points or 0.5 percent. Boral gained 6.4 percent whereas gained 6.1 percent. Nuix declined by 3.9 percent and Pilbara Minerals lost 3.9 percent.

New Zealand’s S&P NZX 50 index gained 0.3 percent over Thursday’s close to end trade at 12,626.09, as cues from the U.S. on the infrastructure deal and the dovish stance by Fed officials supported positive sentiment. Markets shrugged off a decline in trade surplus to NZD 469 million in May 2021 compared to NZD 1,294 million a year ago attributed to the 31 percent surge in imports and the 5.8 percent growth in exports.

Comvita rallied by 4.9 percent, followed by DGL Group, which gained 3.7 percent. Vista Group International lost the most, as it declined 3.3 percent. Bankers Investment Trust also declined more than 3 percent in the day’s trading.

On Thursday, the Nasdaq 100 had closed at 14,366 after gaining 0.6 percent from the previous close, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average finished trading at 34,197 after rallying 1 percent from the previous day.

Sentiment remained strong on the Wall Street bourses following President Biden’s infrastructure deal and the earlier dovish comments by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Fed Chair Jerome Powell.

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