Hang Seng Index, ASX200, Nikkei 225: Hang Seng Makes a Move

Bob Mason
Published: Mar 31, 2023, 04:29 GMT+00:00

It was a bullish morning session, with the Hang Seng Index leading the way. PMI numbers from China and easing fears of a financial crisis delivered support.

Asian equities have a mixed morning - FX Empire

In this article:

  • It was a bullish Friday morning for the Asian markets, with the Hang Seng Index leading the way.
  • The containment of the banking sector crisis and easing fears of a 2008 global financial crisis reboot supported riskier assets.
  • Better-than-expected private sector PMI numbers from China added to the bullish sentiment.

Market Overview

It was a bullish morning for the Asian markets. The Hang Seng Index led the way, with the Nikkei and ASX 200 close behind.

Risk-on sentiment from Wall Street spilled over to the Asian session, with the containment of the banking crisis and easing fears of another global financial crisis supporting demand for riskier assets.

This morning, economic data from China also provided support. The NBS Manufacturing PMI slipped from 52.6 to 51.9, while the Non-Manufacturing PMI jumped from 56.3 to 58.2. Economists forecast PMIs of 51.5 and 54.3. While manufacturing sector activity slowed, the decline was modest.

After gains from Thursday, the US futures were in positive territory this morning. The NASDAQ and the Dow were up by 40.75 and 59 points, respectively.

ASX 200

ASX 200 finds support.
ASX 200 310323 Daily Chart

The ASX 200 was up 0.75%, with commodity stocks delivering support. Economic indicators from Australia had a limited impact on the ASX 200. Private sector credit increased by 0.3% in February versus 0.4% in January. Economists forecasted a 0.4% rise.

Despite easing banking sector jitters, it was a mixed morning for the Big-4. The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) rose by 0.29%, with Westpac Banking Corp (WBC) and ANZ Group (ANZ) seeing gains of 0.07% and 0.17%. National Australia Bank (NAB) bucked the trend, falling by 0.40%.

However, mining stocks were on the move. Rio Tinto (RIO) and BHP Group Ltd (BHP) were up by 2.79% and 2.09%, respectively, with Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) gaining 2.75%. Newcrest Mining (NCM) rose by 1.17%.

Oil stocks struggled this morning. Woodside Energy Group (WDS) and Santos Ltd (STO) saw losses of 1.65% and 0.50%, respectively. Crude oil was on the back foot today, with Brent Crude down 0.24% to $79.08.

Hang Seng Index

Hang Seng Index leads the way.
HSI 310323 Daily Chart

The Hang Seng was up 0.81% this morning. Private sector PMIs from China and the hopes of fewer market restrictions delivered support.

Considering the main components, Tencent Holdings Ltd (HK:0700) was flat, while Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (HK:9988) gained 3.61%.

It was also a mixed morning for banking stocks. HSBC Holdings PLC and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (HK:1398) fell by 0.56% and 1.41%, respectively, while China Construction Bank (HK: 0939) was flat.

CNOOC (HK: 0883) gained 0.85%.

Nikkei 225

Nikkei finds support off a stronger USD/JPY.
JP 225 310323 Daily Chart

The Nikkei 225 was up 0.34% this morning, with a stronger USD/JPY delivering support. It was also a busy morning on the economic data front, with the stats supporting the bullish session.

Tokyo’s core annual inflation rate softened from 3.3% to 3.2% in March versus a forecasted 3.1%, with the annual inflation rate softening from 3.4% to 3.3%. The numbers supported the Bank of Japan’s ultra-loose monetary policy stance.

Industrial production rose by 4.5% in February, partially reversing a 5.3% slump in January. Retail sales figures also impressed, with retail sales up 6.6% in February, year-over-year, versus 5.0% in January. Economists forecast industrial production to rise by 2.7% and retail sales to increase by 5.8%.

Bank stocks were on the move. Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (8316) and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group rose by 1.03% and 2.24%, respectively.

Looking at the main components, SoftBank Group Corp. (9984) led the way, gaining 3.15%, with Sony Corp (6758) rising by 1.41%.

However, Fast Retailing Co (9983) and KDDI Corp (9433) rose by 0.68% and 0.59%, respectively, while Tokyo Electron Limited (8035) fell by 1.50%.

Check out our economic calendar for today’s economic events.

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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