Asian markets follow Wall Street with opening gains

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(AFP / file photo)

HONG KONG – Asian stocks rose broadly on Thursday morning, after another strong advance by Wall Street as fears over the Omicron coronavirus variant eased.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index rose 1.02%, although Tokyo plunged into negative territory.

After a roller coaster ride since Omicron emerged last month, investors are now optimistic about the outlook heading into Christmas.

Drugmakers BioNTech and Pfizer said a third injection of their vaccine was effective in guarding against the new strain, while a two-dose regimen would leave Omicron “not sufficiently neutralized.”

Patrick J. O’Hare of Briefing.com said the new information on the variant was likely to bring market attention back to the US Federal Reserve’s change in monetary policy.

“After all, if Omicron is not going to be the pernicious force that some first thought it could be, then economic activity should continue to operate at a fairly healthy pace of recovery which clearly shows that the policy rate of the Fed shouldn’t hang around the zero limit much longer, ”he said.

With a Fed policy meeting looming next week, investors will focus on Friday’s U.S. Consumer Price Index data, with the central bank voicing concerns about the rise in the inflation, which could lead to multiple rate hikes next year.

“We see a potential increase in volatility even if the market continues to rise around these events next week,” Frances Stacy, portfolio strategist at Optimal Capital, told Bloomberg Television.

“A lot of the catalysts that have given us this boom outside of Covid are slowing down. And then you have the Fed potentially turning into a decelerating economy. “

In mainland China, Shanghai and Shenzhen are on the rise.

Jakarta, Singapore and Seoul were also up slightly, while Wellington was down slightly.

Even an ongoing debt crisis in China’s real estate sector did not appear to shake confidence.

Real estate giant Evergrande missed a deadline to repay some of its foreign creditors on Tuesday, raising fears of a default as it prepares for a government-backed restructuring.

The next day, another real estate company Kaisa suspended operations just before the opening bell. “A few months ago, Evergrande’s failure to repay its bonds scared the world markets and led to speculation about a potential crisis in China’s real estate and financial system,” Russ Mold said. , director of investments at AJ Bell.

“Now it looks like the markets have just accepted that Evergrande could crash and that there is no panic.”

On Wednesday in New York, the large S&P 500 gained 0.3%, helped by statements from BioNTech and Pfizer on Omicron.

Key figures around 02:10 GMT

Tokyo – Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.09% to 28,835.97

Hong Kong – Hang Seng Index: EN up 1.02% to 24,241.47

Shanghai – Composite: + 0.48% to 3,655.21

New York – Dow: 0.1% at 35,754.75 (close)

London – FTSE 100: APARTMENT at 7,337.05 (closing)

West Texas Intermediate: EN up 0.40% to $ 72.65 per barrel

North Sea crude: up 0.25% to $ 76.01 per barrel

Euro / dollar: DOWN to $ 1.1135 from $ 1.1281

Dollar / yen: up to 113.75 yen from 113.47 yen

Pound / dollar: LOWER to 1.3200 against 1.3248

Euro / pound: up to 85.87 pence against 85.15 pence

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