Asian stocks

Asian stocks surge as markets bet on peak Fed rates, China stimulus

By Joanne Cassar / 11. Jul 2023

Most Asian stocks rose sharply on Tuesday amid expectations that the Federal Reserve was close to concluding its rate hike cycle for the year, while the prospect of more stimulus measures from China also aided sentiment.

Comments from several Fed officials this week suggested that while the central bank will still hike rates further in the coming months, it will have limited headroom to keep doing so. Weak labor market data also furthered this notion.

A swathe of weak economic readings from China spurred increased bets that Beijing will roll out more stimulus measures to help support a slowing economic recovery.

Inflation data on Monday showed that consumer spending was on the brink of deflation, sending largely bearish signals on Asia’s largest economy.

Asian technology stocks surge on Fed pause hopes, Chinese regulatory relief

Technology-heavy indexes were the best performers in Asia for the day, with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rallying 1.6% on strength in heavyweights Baidu Inc (HK:9888) (NASDAQ:BIDU), Alibaba Group (HK:9988) (NYSE:BABA), and Tencent Holdings Ltd (HK:0700). The trio rose between 1.7% and 2.5%, extending gains from the prior session.

In addition to the prospect of a Fed pause, Asian technology stocks were also aided by easing Chinese scrutiny towards the country’s biggest internet firms.

Beijing had last week imposed record-high fines on Alibaba’s Ant Group and Tencent, but investors took this as a sign that the country was now done with its regulatory crusade against its technology giants.

Other tech-heavy bourses also rallied, with South Korea’s KOSPI and the Taiwan Weighted index up 1.4% and 1.2%, respectively.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 index rose 0.3%, while the broader TOPIX added 0.1%.

Chinese property stocks rise on stimulus measures

Chinese real estate stocks, including Country Garden Holdings (HK:2007) and China Vanke Co Ltd (SZ:000002), rose on Tuesday after the People’s Bank of China said it was extending policy support for the sector until end-2024.

The move helped offset some pessimism over slowing growth in China, and also spurred bets on more stimulus spending by Beijing, especially ahead of a high-level government meeting later in July.

Optimism over China fueled a 1.2% jump in Australia’s ASX 200 index, which was also aided by data signaling a recovery in consumer sentiment.

But China’s Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 and Shanghai Composite indexes somewhat lagged their peers, rising 0.5% and 0.4%, respectively.

Investors still remained wary of directly investing in Chinese stocks, given the uncertainty over the country’s economic prospects.

Broader Asian markets rose on Tuesday. Futures for India’s Nifty 50 index pointed to a positive open for local stocks, with India’s major indexes trading close to record highs.

Focus was now on key U.S. consumer inflation data due on Wednesday, as well as a string of Fed speakers this week.