Asian Stocks Rise, China Recovers

Most Asian stocks rose on Friday and were set for a positive week as optimism over artificial intelligence drove stellar gains in the technology sector. In contrast, Chinese stocks extended a rebound into a second week.

china50

China A50 daily chart

Still, persistent concerns over higher-for-longer US interest rates held back more significant gains, especially following robust labour market data and hawkish signals from the Federal Reserve this week.

During a market holiday in Japan, they kept regional trading volumes somewhat muted after the Nikkei 225 skyrocketed to record highs on Thursday. Even with four days of trade, the Nikkei was among the best performers in Asia this week, with a 1.6% rise. 

Regional stocks took positive cues from a record-high close on Wall Street on Thursday, mainly driven by technology stocks following consensus-smashing earnings and guidance from AI darling NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ:NVDA). Nvidia’s strong showing ramped up hopes that AI demand will spur more investment in tech this year.

Asian tech bolstered by Nvidia

Nvidia helped inspire consistent gains in Asian tech giants on Friday. South Korea’s KOSPI rose 0.5%, supported chiefly by a 3.7% rise in memory chip maker SK Hynix Inc (KS:000660), which hit a record high at 166,900 won. 

Taiwan’s TSMC (TW:2330) (NYSE:TSM) and Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd (TW:2317), both key Nvidia suppliers, rose 1% and fell 0.5% in Taiwan trade, respectively. But both stocks were trading higher for the week. 

Australia’s ASX 200 rose 0.5% on strength in tech stocks, while futures for India’s Nifty 50 index also pointed to a positive open.

The Nifty rose 0.7% on Thursday on strength in heavyweight technology stocks. At the same time, sentiment towards India was also improved by a strong purchasing managers index reading on the services sector. 

Chinese stocks halt but weekly gains expected

Chinese stocks moved in a flat-to-low range on Friday. However, they were headed for a second straight week of gains after the government rolled out many supportive measures for the economy and stock market. 

The Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 and Shanghai Composite indexes moved less than 0.1% in either direction, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell 0.2%. 

The Hang Seng was up 2.2% this week on strength in heavyweight tech and mainland stocks, while the CSI300 and the Shanghai Composite were up between 3.4% and 4% this week- their second straight week of gains after hitting five-year lows earlier in February. 

Signs of improved consumer spending bolstered sentiment towards China during the Lunar New Year holiday, while the government also doled out more supportive measures by cutting interest rates and restricting block share sales.

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