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James Hyerczyk
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Asia-Pacific Shares

The major Asia-Pacific stock indexes finished higher on Friday, following a strong technical bounce on Wall Street in the overnight session. Japanese shares rose on the Wall Street recovery and stronger corporate earnings. South Korea stocks also tracked Wall Street higher. China and Hong Kong stocks were boosted by a jump in financial and healthcare firms. Australia shares snapped a three-day losing streak amid a rise in bank and energy stocks.

Friday’s Cash Market Performance

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 Index settled at 28084.47, up 636.46 or +2.32%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index finished at 28027.57, up 308.90 or 1.11% and South Korea’s KOSPI Index closed at 3153.32, up 31.21 or 1.00%.

China’s benchmark Shanghai Index settled at 3490.38, up 60.84 or +1.77% and Australia’s S&PASX 200 Index finished at 7014.20, up 31.50 or +0.45%.

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Japanese Shares Rise on Wall Street Rebound, Corporate Earnings

Japanese stocks reclaimed lost ground on Friday after three consecutive days of losses, as a rebound in Wall Street and positive corporate earnings lured buyers back to the markets.

Technology shares led the advance as investors hunted for bargains following a global sell-off in the sector.

However, worries about Japan’s slow COVID-19 vaccine rollout and further restrictions on business activity could limit gains in equities.

The largest percentage gainer in the Nikkei index was Isuzu Motors Ltd, which surged by 23.83% after issuing bullish profit forecast for the current fiscal year.

South Korea Stocks Track Wall Street Higher

South Korean shares bounced back on Friday, tracking an overnight rebound on Wall Street as investors shrugged off inflation worries, but the benchmark stock index was set for its sharpest weekly decline in nearly three months.

China Stocks Rise as Financial, Healthcare Firms Rebound; Hong Kong Up

China stocks climbed on Friday as financial and healthcare firms gained, leading a rally in Asian markets as U.S. Fed officials allayed inflation fears.

Leading the benchmark index higher were the CSI300 financials index and the CSI300 healthcare index. They rose 2% and 2.8%, respectively.

Traders and analysts remain cautious for the time being, as they believed inflation fears could lead to tight liquidity conditions.

Investors were also focused on the development of Sino-U.S. relations.

The broad market also rose in Hong Kong, but the Hang Seng Tech Index slipped 0.7%, as heavyweight Alibaba Group, Holding Ltd fell after posting its first operating loss as a public company.

Australian Shares Track Wall Street Higher

Australian shares ended higher on Friday, led by gains in banks and energy stocks, tracking an overnight Wall Street rebound.

Australia’s heavyweight financial subindex ended nearly 1% higher, with top lender Commonwealth Bank of Australia hitting a record high. Lender Westpac, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group and National Australia Bank ended up between 0.9% and 1%.

Energy stocks led gains on the benchmark, finishing 1.7% higher after shedding nearly 2% over the week.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.
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