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Asian stocks tread water with tech earnings, rate cues on tap

Published 23/04/2024, 03:30
© Reuters.
- Most Asian stocks moved in a flat-to-low range on Tuesday as investors remained on edge ahead of earnings from some of the world’s biggest companies this week, while more cues on U.S. interest rates were also in focus.

Regional markets took some positive cues from a strong overnight close on Wall Street, as U.S. stock indexes recovered from two straight weeks of losses. But this rebound appeared to be waning, with U.S. stock index futures falling slightly in Asian trade.

China stock rebound wanes, more govt cues awaited 

Chinese stocks were the worst performers for the day, with the Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 and Shanghai Composite indexes falling 0.6% and 0.5%, respectively. 

A recent rebound in Chinese markets now appeared to be running out of steam, especially as markets sought more assurances of stimulus from Beijing. 

Chinese markets bounced sharply from five-year lows hit in late-January, amid some signs of improvement in the Chinese economy, and as Beijing kept up its pace of liquidity injections.

But momentum in Chinese stocks slowed in recent sessions, as some economic readings for March showed growth was once again slowing. Beijing has also offered scant cues on more stimulus measures.

Strength in technology stocks helped buoy Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index, which rose 1.1%. Videogame giant Tencent Holdings Ltd (HK:0700) was the biggest boost to the index with a 3% jump, after the firm released a long-awaited videogame earlier this week.

JD (NASDAQ:JD).com (HK:9618) also surged over 4%, although it was not immediately clear what drove the bounce. 

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Broader Asian markets moved in a tight range on Tuesday, and were still nursing steep losses from over the past two weeks amid fears of higher-for-longer U.S. rates and weak risk appetite.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 was flat, as was the broader TOPIX. Both indexes took little support from positive purchasing managers index data for April. 

Australia’s ASX 200 rose 0.4%, somewhat buoyed by strong PMI readings for April, which showed the manufacturing sector came close to expansion territory. 

Australian inflation data for the first quarter is due on Wednesday. 

South Korea’s KOSPI rose marginally, while futures for India’s Nifty 50 index pointed to some strength. 

Markets await major US tech earnings, economic data 

Markets were now awaiting earnings reports from some of the biggest companies on Wall Street. Four of the so-called “Magnificent Seven” stocks are set to report this week, with Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) due later on Tuesday.

Facebook owner Meta Platforms Inc (NASDAQ:META) will report earnings on Wednesday, while Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Google parent Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) will post earnings on Thursday.

Beyond the earnings reports, focus is also on PCE price index data, which is the Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation gauge. The reading is due on Friday and is widely expected to factor into its stance on interest rates.

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