Asian Shares Rise As U.S. Yields Retreat

Asian stocks advanced on Wednesday as U.S. Treasury yields retreated and progress in U.S. stimulus talks underpinned optimism about the global economy.

Chinese stocks posted strong gains after the latest survey from Caixin showed the services sector in the country continued to expand in February, albeit at a slower pace, with a services PMI score of 51.5. That’s down from 52.0 in January.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index jumped 68.31 points, or 2 percent, to 3,576.90, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index surged up 784.56 points, or 2.7 percent, to 29,880.42.

The private sector in Hong Kong moved into expansion territory in February, the latest survey from Markit Economics showed, with a services PMI score of 50.2, up from 47.8 in January. Individually, activity and new orders were down but at much weaker rates.

Japanese stocks gained ground as investors picked up cyclical stocks on hopes of a quicker economic recovery from the pandemic-led recession. The Nikkei 225 Index rose 150.93 points, or 0.5 percent, to 29,559.10, while the broader Topix closed 0.5 percent higher at 1,904.54.

Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding, Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal, JFE and Kobe Steel surged 6-9 percent.

The services sector in Japan continued to contract in February, albeit at a slower pace, the latest survey from Jibun Bank revealed, with a services PMI score of 46.3, up from 46.1 in January.

Australian markets ended notably higher after official data showed Australia’s GDP rose 3.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2020, a strong sign the economy is recovering from the coronavirus pandemic.

Meanwhile, the services sector in Australia continued to expand in February, albeit at a slightly slower pace, the latest survey from Markit Economics showed.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index climbed 55.70 points, or 0.8 percent, to 6,818.00, while the broader All Ordinaries Index ended up 58 points, or 0.8 percent, at 7,067.90.

Material stocks led the surge, with BHP, Rio Tinto, South32 and Fortescue Metals Group rising 2-6 percent. Gold miners Evolution Mining and Northern Star Resources jumped 3-4 percent as gold prices snapped a five-day losing streak. Tech shares underperformed with heavyweight Afterpay losing 2.2 percent.

Seoul stocks rose sharply to finish near day’s highs amid eased inflation concerns. The Kospi soared 39.12 points, or 1.3 percent, to 3,082.99, with steel and tech stocks pacing the gainers on institutional buying.

New Zealand shares fluctuated before ending slightly higher for the day. The benchmark NZX-50 Index closed up 14.77 points, or 0.1 percent, at 12,359.26, led by utilities. Contact Energy rose 1.4 percent and Genesis Energy climbed 2.7 percent.

The total number of building permits issued in New Zealand rose 2.1 percent sequentially in January, a government report showed, after an upwardly revised 5.1 percent increase in December.

U.S. stocks fell overnight as a sharp rally the previous day led to valuation concerns, with China’s banking regulator warning that U.S. and European markets are potentially creating bubbles.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped half a percent, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite tumbled 1.7 percent and the S&P 500 shed 0.8 percent.

Source: Read Full Article