Hang Seng Index, ASX200, Nikkei 225: Hang Seng Leads the Way
- It was a mixed morning for the Asian markets, with the ASX 200 struggling.
- The RBA left the ASX on the back foot, raising rates by 25 basis points and signaling data-dependent moves going forward.
- However, hopes of a dovish Fed Chair Powell supported the Hang Seng Index and the Nikkei 225.
It was a mixed morning for the Asian markets, with the ASX 200 in negative territory, while the Hang Seng Index and Nikkei 225 made gains. The upside came despite a mixed US session that saw the NASDAQ Composite Index fall by 0.11% and the Dow gain 0.12%.
Investor caution ahead of two days of Fed Chair Powell testimony on Capitol Hill left the markets flatfooted. Better-than-expected US factory orders had a muted impact on market risk sentiment, with factory orders falling by 1.6% in February versus a forecasted 1.8% decline.
Economic indicators from the region were on the lighter side, with the Australian economy in focus. However, trade data from China will also draw interest this morning. Following the hot private sector PMI numbers, investors will respond to weaker-than-expected numbers.
While the markets look ahead to Fed Chair Powell’s testimony, the RBA delivered a 25-basis point interest rate hike this morning. In line with expectations and spoke of more interest rate hikes in the months ahead.
The ASX 200 was down 0.04%, with RBA forward guidance and trade data from Australia weighing. In January, Australia’s trade surplus narrowed from A$12.985 billion to $11.688 billion versus a forecasted A$12.500 billion.
Bank stocks had a mixed morning. ANZ Group (ANZ) and Westpac Banking Corp (WBC) rose by 0.52 and 0.38%, respectively, with National Australia Bank (NAB) gaining 0.15%. However, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) fell by 0.21%.
Oil stocks found support, with Woodside Energy Group (WDS) and Santos Ltd (STO) seeing gains of 0.71% and 2.03%, respectively. WTI Crude and Brent Crude were up today, with Brent Crude rising by 0.27% to $86.45 this morning.
Mining stocks had a mixed session. Rio Tinto (RIO) and BHP Group Ltd (BHP) were down by 0.53% and 1.26%, respectively, while Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) rose by 0.74%. Newcrest Mining (NCM) fell by 0.46%.
Hang Seng Index
The Hang Seng was up 0.79% this morning, with easing fears of a hawkish Fed delivering support.
Looking at the main components of the Index, Tencent Holdings Ltd (HK:0700) was down 0.17%, while Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (HK:9988) rallied by 2.98%.
It was also a bullish morning for banking stocks. HSBC Holdings PLC rose by 0.77%, with China Construction Bank (HK: 0939) and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (HK:1398) seeing gains of 2.78% and 2.42%, respectively.
CNOOC (HK: 0883) led the way, however, rallying 4.84%.
The Nikkei 225 was up 0.42% this morning, supported by early USD/JPY gains. There were no stats to consider, leaving the focus on the Bank of Japan and BoJ Governor Kuroda’s final policy decision. Market sentiment towards BoJ monetary policy remains market-positive following the recent comments from incoming Governor Ueda.
Fast Retailing Co (9983) rose by 1.31%, with KDDI Corp (9433) gaining 1.36%. Sony Corp (6758) and SoftBank Group Corp. (9984) also found support, rising by 1.10% and 1.14%, respectively. However, Tokyo Electron fell by 0.99%.
Check out our economic calendar for today’s economic events.