Most markets track Wall St rally but China weighs on optimism

Jul 19, 2023 | Entertainment, News


Traders have welcomed data indicating that US inflation is coming down and the economy remains healthy
Traders have welcomed data indicating that US inflation is coming down and the economy remains healthy.
Photo: MOHD RASFAN / AFP
Source: AFP

Asian markets mostly rose Wednesday following a Wall Street rally as investors grow increasingly optimistic that the Federal Reserve will soon end its interest rate hiking cycle and the US economy will avoid a feared recession.

Another batch of forecast-topping earnings in New York added to the upbeat mood as the corporate earnings season gets under way, though worries over China’s growth outlook cast a shadow.

Data last week showing US inflation continued to fall towards the Fed’s target was among a series of indicators pointing to an economy that was slowing but still in rude health.

Reinforcing that view, the latest readings showed retail sales rose less than expected in June, though that was offset by an upward revision for May, while industrial output also came in slightly below estimates.

Read also

Asian markets drop as China growth worries offset Fed rate hopes

However, traders looked past those figures to focus on news that earnings from Morgan Stanley, Bank of America and Charles Schwab all topped estimates. That came after similarly positive reports from JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo.

“The markets appear to be focused more on the forward outlook from Corporate America than the backward insight from the macro (figures),” said SPI Asset management’s Stephen Innes.

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“When viewed through the cooling inflation lens, investors are shifting gears from inflation/recession concerns to higher soft landing/disinflationary probabilities.”

Traders are now looking ahead to the Fed’s policy meeting next week, where it is expected to hike rates once again, though the focus will be on its guidance for the future, with analysts debating whether it will hold or announce one more this year.

Read also

Markets struggle as rally fades, China growth misses forecasts

Fears over global inflation have seen central banks ramp rates higher for more than a year, fuelling uncertainty among investors, though they were given hope Wednesday with news that the Asian Development Bank had cut its inflation forecast for developing Asia.

The move came as food and fuel prices eased, supply chain disruptions waned, and interest rate hikes started to bite.

In New York, the Dow clocked a seventh-straight gain — its best run in more than two years — as all three indexes piled higher.

Most of Asia followed suit, with Tokyo, Sydney, Singapore, Wellington, Taipei and Manila well in the green.

However, Hong Kong was hit by a sharp drop in tech firms while Shanghai and Seoul were also down.

While the outlook for the US economy is looking brighter, there is increasing worry about China’s after news Monday that it had grown far slower than forecast in the second quarter while consumers remained cautious and inflation had flatlined.

Read also

‘Artificially high’ growth predicted for China in Q2: survey

Months of disappointing figures have stoked talk that authorities will unveil a range of stimulus, but apart from small interest rate cuts in June and some pledges to support the struggling property sector, there has been little of substance out of Beijing.

Still, observers warn that with the country’s local governments struggling with mountains of debt, officials’ scope for wide-ranging measures was limited.

“The market pessimism around Chinese equities is probably at a level of extreme,” John Lin, of AllianceBernstein, told Bloomberg Television.

“At this point, little policies probably aren’t enough. You need something bigger, something to sort of shock people out of the slumber.”

Key figures around 0230 GMT

Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 1.0 percent at 32,810.30 (break)

Hong Kong – Hang Seng Index: DOWN 1.4 percent at 18,755.57

Shanghai – Composite: DOWN 0.2 percent at 3193.13

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1219 from $1.1235 on Tuesday

Dollar/yen: UP at 139.27 yen from 138.87 yen

Read also

Markets extend rally on hopes Fed near end of rate hike cycle

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.3018 from $1.3040

Euro/pound: UP at 86.18 pence from 86.13 pence

West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 0.3 percent at $75.55 per barrel

Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 0.1 percent $79.62 per barrel

New York – Dow: UP 1.1 percent at 34,951.93 (close)

London – FTSE 100: UP 0.6 percent at 7,453.69 (close)

Source: AFP





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