Asian stocks muted with more economic cues on tap, outlook improves

  • Stock Market News
Asian stocks muted with more economic cues on tap, outlook improves
Credit: © Reuters. Most Asian stocks moved in a tight range on Thursday as investors awaited more cues from the region’s biggest economies, although expectations of stabler interest rates and improving growth presented a positive outlook for regional markets.

Trading volumes were muted on account of market holidays in the U.S. and Japan, and are expected to remain low for the remainder of the week.

Asian markets were dealt slightly negative cues from the U.S., as data showed that weekly jobless claims fell less than expected. The reading, coupled with somewhat hawkish signals from the minutes of the Federal Reserve’s recent meeting, brewed some uncertainty over when the bank will begin trimming interest rates in 2024

An overnight rise in the dollar and Treasury yields also weighed further on Asian technology stocks, which were already under pressure after major chipmaker NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ: NVDA ) presented a weak outlook on Chinese sales. 

But a slew of Reuters polls and analyst comments presented a positive outlook for share markets going into 2024.

Chinese shares muted, Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS ) sees positive 2024

China’s Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 and Shanghai Composite indexes moved little on Thursday, as did Hong Kong’s Hang Seng

While the three indexes rebounded sharply from multi-year lows in recent sessions, they were still nursing steep losses for the year as a predicted Chinese economic rebound failed to materialize.

But Goldman Sachs analysts said Chinese shares were due for a positive 2024, especially if Beijing rolls out more stimulus measures. Analysts were particularly positive on Chinese blue-chip stocks, which make up the CSI 300 index.

Purchasing managers index readings from China are due next week, and are expected to provide more cues on business activity through November, after a disappointing October. 

Broader Asian markets were muted in anticipation of more cues. Australia’s ASX 200 fell 0.4%, weighed down by losses in commodity stocks. But Origin Energy Ltd (ASX: ORG ) rose 1.6% after a Brookfield-led consortium presented a revised, $10.6 billion takeover offer for the firm.

South Korea’s KOSPI rose 0.2% as its heavyweight tech stocks recovered, while Indonesian stocks led gains across Southeast Asia with a 0.8% jump, on expectations that easing economic growth could see Bank Indonesia loosen monetary conditions in the coming months.

Japanese markets were closed, but an inflation reading from the country, due Friday, was in close focus, given that it was likely to factor into the Bank of Japan’s outlook on monetary policy. 

Indian stocks rangebound, but Reuters poll sees new highs

Futures for India’s Nifty 50 index pointed to a flat open on Thursday, with the index having kept to a tight trading range over the past four sessions.

A Reuters poll of analysts said India’s stock market was set to hit record highs in the next six months, with a potential 10% gain through 2024 on sustained growth in the world’s fastest-growing major economy.

Optimism over India’s economic prospects saw domestic stocks hit a series of record highs this year. The Nifty hit a record high of 20,222.45 points in September, and was now trading at 19,811.85 points- remaining within sight of new peaks. 

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