Asian stocks rise as Powell speech, Chinese data looms

  • Stock Market News
Asian stocks rise as Powell speech, Chinese data looms
Credit: © Reuters. -- Most Asian stocks rose on Wednesday following positive Australian data and strength on Wall Street, although anticipation of more cues on monetary policy and key Chinese economic readings kept investors on their toes.

Wall Street indexes closed stronger on Tuesday as better-than-expected durable goods and new home sales data pointed to some resilience in the U.S. economy. Heavyweight technology stocks also rose sharply.

This optimism spilled over into Asian trade, with Japan’s Nikkei 225 index up 1.4%, buoyed by gains in financial and industrials. The index, along with the broader TOPIX , was once again moving back towards 33-year highs, after seeing some profit taking over the past week.

Australia’s ASX 200 index was among the best performers for the day, up 1.1% after data showed that consumer inflation sank to a 13-month low in May, ramping up hopes that the Reserve Bank will pause its rate hike cycle. But core inflation still remained elevated.

The Taiwan Weighted index added 0.2%, while strength in heavyweight technology stocks pushed Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index up 0.2%, despite losses in China-exposed stocks. 

Singapore-traded futures for India’s Nifty 50 pointed to a positive open for Indian stocks. 

Chinese stocks lag, PMIs in focus this week

China’s Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 and Shanghai Composite indexes fell about 0.6% each, resuming a losing streak even as Premier Li Qiang said that the country’s economy will grow at a faster pace in the second quarter.

But his comments were largely undermined by weak economic readings for April and May, which showed that a post-COVID rebound in the country ran out of steam.

Focus this week is now on purchasing managers’ index data for June, due on Friday. The data is expected to show a sustained decline in China’s manufacturing sector , while growth in the services sector is also expected to have slowed.

Concerns over slowing economic growth have battered Chinese stocks over the past month, with recent interest rate cuts by the People’s Bank providing limited support to local stocks.

Any further gains are now largely contingent on the path of the Chinese economy, which is struggling amid a manufacturing decline and sluggish demand.

Powell speech, rate hike signals awaited

In addition to uncertainty over China, sentiment towards risk-heavy Asian markets was also constrained by anticipation of an address by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell at a European Central Bank forum later in the day. 

Powell had largely maintained his hawkish rhetoric during a two-day testimony to Congress last week, and is expected to serve up more cues on the path of U.S. interest rates.


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