Asian stocks steady, poised for weekly gain in volatile trade | Investment News

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Asian stocks were heading for a second consecutive week of gains on Friday, although trading was choppy amid hawkish U.S. monetary policy, shifts in Chinese economic policy and continued market turmoil raw materials due to the war in Ukraine.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific stocks outside Japan traded flat, but was up 1% on the week.

Japan’s Nikkei was also little changed after closing the day before at a nine-week high.

Hong Kong shares held back the regional benchmark, falling 0.5%, weighed down by tech stocks, as dual-listed US and Hong Kong names were hit by renewed fears that a dispute over the audit records forces them to delist in the United States. .

Australian stocks rose 0.4%, helped by miners, while Chinese blue chips lost 0.4%.

“As far as Asia is concerned, we have seen asset prices stabilize a bit this week after the Chinese Vice Premier’s statement last week. This may not be sustainable unless we see some easing. additional and that we have better visibility on the regulatory front, but it seemed to have the desired effect in terms of limiting downside risks,” said Carlos Casanova, senior economist for Asia at UBP.

“Although what we’re starting to see is a bit more caution from global investors when it comes to the US economy, and what that means for Asia,” he added. .

Last week, Chinese Vice Premier Liu He said Beijing would roll out support for the Chinese economy, boosting Chinese and Hong Kong stocks at first.

Investors were also waiting to see if the Bank of Japan would step in to buy Japanese government bonds (JGBs) as its yield target came under pressure.

The yield on 10-year JGBs rose to 0.235% on Friday morning, surpassing the level at which the BOJ offered to buy unlimited JGBs at 0.25% on Feb. 10, as part of a policy to keep interest rates at their ultra current level. -low levels.

Japanese bond yields are being driven higher by US Treasury yields, which rose alongside expectations of a more aggressive pace of rate hikes by the US Federal Reserve.

US 10-year bonds last fell 2.3681% just after Tuesday’s 22-month high of 2.417%.

Chicago Fed Chairman Charles Evans was the latest U.S. policymaker to sound more hawkish, saying on Thursday the Fed needed to raise interest rates “in a timely manner” this year and in 2023 to rein in high inflation. before it was integrated into American psychology and became even more difficult to get rid of.

The divergence between US and Japanese monetary policies weighed on the yen. On Friday, the dollar climbed another 0.41% to 121.84 yen, a new multi-year high. Rising commodity prices driven by the war in Ukraine are also hurting the Japanese currency, as Japan imports most of its energy.

The dollar’s gains against other currencies were less dramatic, however, with the US currency’s index against six peers falling slightly to 98.536.

Overnight, the three major U.S. stock indexes each rose more than 1% as investors bought battered shares of chipmakers and big growth names and buoyed by a slump in oil prices. [.N]

The S&P 500 future rose 0.1% in early trading in Asia.

Oil continued to slide a bit as the United States and its allies considered releasing more oil from storage to cool markets. Brent fell 0.22% to $118.77 a barrel and US crude 0.5% to $111.74 a barrel, but prices were still very high by historical standards. [O/R]

Spot gold remained high at $1961.9 an ounce, up 0.22%. [gol]

(Edited by Shri Navaratnam)

Copyright 2022 Thomson Reuters.

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