Asian stocks rise as debt ceiling fears abate, Sony boosts Nikkei

  • Stock Market News
Asian stocks rise as debt ceiling fears abate, Sony boosts Nikkei
Credit: © Reuters. -- Most Asian stock markets rose on Thursday, tracking gains on Wall Street amid optimism that the U.S. debt ceiling will be raised, while gains in Japanese conglomerate Sony boosted the Nikkei to a 20-month high.

The Nikkei jumped 1.5%, supported chiefly by a near 6% rise in the shares of Sony Corp (TYO: 6758 ) after the firm said it was considering spinning off and listing its financial services unit. The gaming conglomerate said the move could happen in the next three years, and that it will distribute shares of the new firm as a dividend.

A bigger-than-expected drop in Japan’s massive trade deficit also aided sentiment, helping the Nikkei extend its winning streak into a sixth straight session. The index has vastly outpaced its Asian peers this year, aided by a stellar earnings season, resilience in the Japanese economy, and dovish signals from the Bank of Japan.

Broader Asian markets also rose, tracking gains in Wall Street after the Biden Administration said that a deal on raising the U.S. debt ceiling could be reached as soon as this week.

This helped ease fears of a potential U.S. debt default, as a June 1 deadline for policymakers to reach an agreement approaches.

But gains in Asian markets were still held back by caution over slowing economic growth, particularly in China.

China’s Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 and Shanghai Composite indexes rose 0.4% and 0.8%, respectively, snapping two straight days of losses after a string of weak economic readings from the country.

Recent data suggested that a post-COVID economic rebound in China was running out of steam, which bodes poorly for Asian markets with heavy trade exposure to the country.

Still, gains in technology stocks also aided Asian markets. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 1.2%, supported by a 3.2% jump in shares of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (HK: 9988 ) (NYSE: BABA ) ahead of its first-quarter earnings due later in the day.

The stock was also supported by the Big Short’s Michael Burry doubling his stake in the Chinese e-commerce giant, on a bet that the firm will benefit greatly from a Chinese reopening this year.

Other tech-heavy indexes also rose, with South Korea’s KOSPI up 0.5%, while the Taiwan Weighted index rose 1.1%.

Australia’s ASX 200 index added 0.5% after a softer-than-expected labor market reading spurred hopes that the Reserve Bank will pause future interest rate hikes. 


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