Hang Seng Index, ASX 200, Nikkei 225: Tech Stocks, Inflation, and the BoJ

Bob Mason
Updated: Apr 25, 2024, 23:00 GMT+00:00

Key Points:

  • The Nikkei 225 tumbled on Thursday (April 25) amidst a tech sector rout and intervention threats, while the Hang Seng Index extended its winning streak to four sessions.
  • Overnight US GDP numbers for Q1 and US corporate earnings results will set the tone for the Friday Asian session.
  • Investors should also consider inflation numbers from Japan and Australia and the Bank of Japan interest rate decision and press conference.
Hang Seng Index, ASX 200, Nikkei 225

In this article:

US Equity Markets: Q1 GDP Numbers and Earnings

US GDP figures for Q1 2024 and weekly jobless claims were in focus. The US economy expanded by 3.1% in Q1 2024 after growing by 3.4% in Q4 2023. Moreover, initial jobless claims decreased from 212k to 207 in the week ending April 20. The numbers affected investor bets on multiple 2024 Fed interest rate cuts.

On Thursday, the Dow slid by 0.96%. The Nasdaq Composite Index and the S&P 500 saw losses of 0.64% and 0.46%, respectively.

Beyond the economic calendar, US corporate earnings results also warrant investor attention. Alphabet (GOOGL), Caterpillar (CAT), Intel (INTC), and Microsoft (MSFT) were among the big names to release earnings results on Thursday. After-hours results from Alphabet and Microsoft could fuel a tech sector rally.

Asian Economic Calendar: Inflation and the Bank of Japan

On Friday, April 26, investors should consider inflation figures from Australia and Japan. Hotter-than-expected numbers could impact buyer demand for ASX 200 and Nikkei 225-listed stocks.

Economists forecast Australian producer prices to increase 2.6% year-on-year in Q1 2024 after rising 4.1% in Q4 2023.

For Tokyo, economists expect the core annual inflation rate to ease from 2.4% to 2.2% in April.

Inflation figures will dominate the early headlines. However, the Bank of Japan interest rate decision and press conference will draw more investor interest. Economists expect the Bank of Japan to leave interest rates at zero. Views on the Japanese Yen, inflation, and timelines to raise interest rates will put the press conference in focus.

Away from the economic calendar, corporate earnings also need consideration. Nomura (8604) and Bank of Communications (HK3328) are among the big names to release earnings results on Friday.

Commodities: Crude Oil, Gold, and Iron Ore

On Thursday, gold (XAU/USD) ended a three-day losing streak, gaining 0.70% to $2,633. WTI crude oil prices advanced by 0.92%, ending the session at $83.57.

On the Singapore Futures Exchange, iron ore prices slipped by 0.03%. Furthermore, Iron Ore Spot ended the Thursday session down 1.28%.

The USD/JPY, the Intervention Zone, and the Nikkei

The USD/JPY gained 0.20% on Thursday, closing the session at 155.647. A stronger USD/JPY could boost buyer demand for Nikkei-listed export stocks. However, intervention chatter, uncertainty about the Bank of Japan plans to tackle the weaker Japanese Yen, and interest rate goals need consideration.

The Futures Markets

On Friday, the ASX 200 was down by 26 points, while Nikkei was up by 250 points.

ASX 200

ASX 200 was closed for ANZAC Day.
ASX200 250424 Daily Chart

The Australian markets were closed on Thursday, April 25, for ANZAC Day.

Hang Seng Index

Hang Seng Index extended its winning streak to four sessions.
HSI 260424 Daily Chart

On Thursday, the Hang Seng Index advanced by 0.48%, extending its winning streak to four sessions. Real estate-related stocks contributed to the gains, with the Hang Seng Mainland Properties Index (HSMPI) advancing by 2.09%. However, the tech sector rout impacted tech stocks. The Hang Seng Tech Index (HSTECH) fell by 0.54%.

Tencent (0700) declined by 1.39%, while Alibaba (9988) gained 0.69%.

However, Bank stocks had a positive Thursday session. HSBC (0005) increased by 0.08%. China Construction Bank (0939) and Industrial Commercial Bank (1398) rose by 1.22% and 0.72%, respectively.

The Nikkei 225

Nikkei ended the Thursday session in the red.
Nikkei 260424 Daily Chart

(Graph for reference purposes only)

The Nikkei slid by 2.16% on Thursday, April 25.

Bank stocks ended the session in negative territory. Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. (8316) and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. (8306) saw losses of 0.72% and 1.18%, respectively.

Moreover, it was also a negative session for the main components of the Nikkei 225.

Tokyo Electron Ltd. (8035) and Fast Retailing Co. Ltd. (9983) slid by 3.48% and 3.57%, respectively. Softbank Group Corp. (9948) declined by 1.96%, with Sony Group Corporation (6758) falling by 0.62%. KDDI Corp. (9433) fell by 0.18%.

For upcoming economic events, refer to our economic calendar.

About the Author

Bob Masonauthor

With over 20 years of experience in the finance industry, Bob has been managing regional teams across Europe and Asia and focusing on analytics across both corporate and financial institutions. Currently he is covering developments relating to the financial markets, including currencies, commodities, alternative asset classes, and global equities.

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