Hang Seng Index, ASX 200, Nikkei Index: Chinese Stats and the Middle East

Bob Mason
Updated: Apr 15, 2024, 22:50 GMT+00:00

Key Points:

  • It was a negative start to the week, with the Hang Seng Index, ASX 200, and Nikkei seeing losses on Monday.
  • Overnight US retail sales figures and US equity market losses will set the tone for the Tuesday session.
  • The Asian economic calendar and news updates from the Middle East also warrant investor attention.
Hang Seng Index, ASX 200, Nikkei Index

In this article:

US Equity Markets: US Retail Sales and the Middle East

On Monday, US retail sales figures for March garnered investor interest. Retail sales increased by 0.7% following a 0.9% rise in February. Retail sales ex-autos jumped by 1.1% after advancing by 0.6% in February.

The hotter-than-expected retail sales figures could further delay the timing of a Fed rate cut. Geopolitical tensions in the Middle East also impacted buyer demand for riskier assets.

On Monday, the Nasdaq Composite Index slid by 1.79%. The Dow and the S&P 500 declined by 0.65% and 1.20%, respectively.

The US equity market session from Monday will likely set the tone for the Tuesday Asian markets.

Asian Economic Calendar: China in the Spotlight

On Tuesday, the Chinese economy will be in focus. Q1 GDP, industrial production, retail sales, fixed asset investment, and unemployment figures warrant investor attention.

Economists forecast the Chinese economy to expand by 0.9% quarter-on-quarter in Q1 after growing by 1.0% in Q4. Moreover, economists expect the economy to grow by 5.0% year-on-year in Q1 after expanding by 5.2% in Q4.

The GDP numbers will likely impact market risk sentiment more. Nevertheless, investors should consider the monthly stats to assess the path of the Chinese economy.

Beyond the numbers, investors should monitor news updates from the Middle East and stimulus chatter from Beijing.

Commodities: Crude Oil, Gold, and Iron Ore

Commodity price trends from Monday warrant investor attention, with the ASX 200 sensitive to price movements. Crude oil prices were down on Monday. Gold spot prices advanced, with iron ore futures higher on the Singapore exchange.

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

The USD/JPY breached the 154 handle barrier on Monday after rising by 0.68% to end the session at 154.259. A stronger USD/JPY would support buyer demand for Nikkei-listed export stocks. However, intervention threats could overshadow any Yen weakness.

The Futures Markets

On Tuesday, the ASX 200 and the Nikkei were down 63 and 530 points, respectively.

ASX 200

ASX 200 ended Monday in the red.
ASX200 160424 Daily Chart

The ASX 200 declined by 0.46% on Monday. Gold (XAU/USD) and tech stocks contributed to the losses. The S&P ASX All Technology Index (XTX) slid by 1.42% on risk-off sentiment.

Gold stocks Northern Star Resources Ltd. (NST) and Evolution Mining Ltd (EVN) declined by 0.46% and 1.26%, respectively.

However, bank and mining stocks had mixed sessions, while oil stocks ended the day in positive territory.

National Australia Bank Ltd. (NAB) and Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) saw losses of 0.64% and 1.38%, respectively. ANZ Group Holdings Ltd. (ANZ) and Westpac Banking Corp. (WBC) advanced by 0.17% and 0.54%, respectively.

BHP Group Ltd (BHP) and Rio Tinto Ltd. (RIO) ended the day up 0.55% and 3.64%, respectively. RIO rallied before its earnings release on Tuesday. Upward trends in iron ore prices contributed to the gains. Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. (FMG) slipped by 0.01%.

Woodside Energy Group Ltd (WDS) and Santos Ltd (STO) saw gains of 0.36% and 0.90%, respectively.

Hang Seng Index

Hang Seng Index kick-started the week in negative territory.
HSI 160424 Daily Chart

On Monday, the Hang Seng Index fell by 0.72%. Property stocks and tech stocks extended their losses from Friday. The Hang Seng Tech Index (HSTECH) and Hang Seng Mainland Properties Index (HSMPI) declined by 0.92% and 1.09%, respectively.

Tencent (0700) and Alibaba (9988) ended the session down 1.68% and 1.74%, respectively.

However, bank stocks had a positive session. HSBC (0005) rose by 0.08%. China Construction Bank (0939) and Industrial Commercial Bank (1398) advanced by 0.42% and 1.00%, respectively.

The Nikkei 225

Risk aversion left the Nikkei in the red.
Nikkei 160424 Daily Chart

(Graph for reference purposes only)

The Nikkei fell by 0.74% on Monday.

Bank stocks extended their losses from Friday. Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. (8316) and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. (8306) declined by 0.28% and 0.48%, respectively.

It was also a negative session for the main components of the Nikkei.

Softbank Group Corp. (9948) slid by 1.92%. Fast Retailing Co. Ltd. (9983) and Sony Group Corporation (6758) saw losses of 1.28% and 1.38%, respectively. Tokyo Electron Ltd. (8035) declined by 0.53%, with KDDI Corp. (9433) falling by 0.76%.

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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