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Asian stocks rise as tech tracks Wall St rally; Hawkish Fed limits gains

Published 13-06-2024, 08:22 am
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Investing.com-- Most Asian stocks rose on Thursday as the technology sector tracked an overnight rally on Wall Street, although overall gains were limited after the Federal Reserve slashed its outlook for interest rate cuts. 

Japanese stocks lagged their peers as markets awaited a Bank of Japan meeting where the central bank is widely expected to tighten policy further. 

Regional markets took positive cues from Wall Street, where the S&P 500 and NASDAQ Composite clocked record highs on Wednesday as an artificial intelligence-fueled rally in technology stocks pushed on. A soft consumer price index inflation reading also aided sentiment.

But sectors beyond tech clocked middling moves, especially after the Fed warned that it only saw the possibility of one rate cut this year, down from previous forecasts of three. Some policymakers were also seen calling for no rate cuts in the face of sticky inflation. 

This notion kept gains across most Asian markets limited.

Japanese stocks lag as BOJ jitters grow 

Japan’s Nikkei 225 and TOPIX indexes moved in a flat-to-low range on Thursday, with sentiment towards Japanese markets turning sour before a BOJ meeting on Friday. 

The BOJ is likely to keep interest rates unchanged, but is expected to further scale back its purchases of government bonds, tightening monetary policy.

The move comes after the BOJ hiked rates for the first time in 17 years in March, and marked an end to its yield curve control policies. It had also flagged an eventual reduction in its bond purchases, which it is expected to enact this week.

But the BOJ’s capacity to tighten policy appeared limited by persistent weakness in the Japanese economy, which contracted in the first quarter of 2024. 

Tech buoyed by AI optimism, Apple suppliers gain

Technology-heavy indexes were the best performers on Thursday, with South Korea’s KOSPI up 1.5%, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.4%. 

Tech stocks tracked overnight gains in their U.S. peers, with Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) surging over 7% after it announced plans to incorporate AI into its flagship devices. The iPhone maker will also partner with OpenAI.

Gains in Apple spilled over into its Asian suppliers, with TSMC (TW:2330) (NYSE:TSM) and Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd (TW:2317) rising about 2% each. 

South Korea’s SK Hynix Inc (KS:000660) and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd (KS:005930) added 3.5% and 2.4%, respectively, while China’s AAC Technologies (OTC:AACAY) Holdings Inc (HK:2018) rose 2.6%. 

Other Asian markets were mixed. Australia’s ASX 200 rose 0.4%, having trimmed some intraday gains after employment data read stronger-than-expected for May. Strength in the labor market gives the Reserve Bank more headroom to keep rates higher for longer. 

Chinese markets lagged as sentiment towards the country was battered by reports of more U.S. trade scrutiny against the country. The Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 and Shanghai Composite indexes fell 0.2% each. 

Reports this week said the U.S. was considering wider chip sanctions against Russia, which could cover third-party Chinese sellers. 

Futures for India's Nifty 50 index pointed to a positive open, with the index remaining close to record highs.

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