Hong Kong’s Hang Seng jumps 2% as tech stocks rally; China’s December inflation slows

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng jumps 2% as tech stocks rally; China’s December inflation slows

SINGAPORE Chinese markets rose on Wednesday, tracking gains in other Asia-Pacific markets. U.S. markets also rallied overnight as comments from the Fed chief appeared to reassure investors.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index led gains in the region, as it jumped 2%. The Hang Seng tech index soared 3.7%, as Tencent was up 3.13%, and Alibaba climbed 4.7%, and Meituan jumped 7.69%. JD soared over 9%.

Mainland Chinese markets also rose, as the Shanghai composite was up 0.37%, and the Shenzhen component rose 0.61%.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 jumped 1.86%, while the Topix was up 1.43%. Tech stocks rose, and SoftBank was higher by 5.26%.

South Korea’s Kospi rose 1.42%.

In Australia, the ASX 200 was higher by 0.69%. Gold miners gained in the morning. Kingsgate Consolidated soared more than 10%, while Evolution Mining jumped 4%, and Newcrest was up 3.22%. Gold prices climbed 1% on Tuesday.

Economic numbers due out in Asia on Wednesday included China’s consumer and producer price index for December.

China’s consumer price index was up 1.5% in December compared to a year ago, according to Reuters — a drop from the 2.3% increase in November and lower than the 1.8% rise expected in a Reuters poll. Factory prices climbed 10.3% from a year earlier, slowing from the 12.9% rise in November and less than the 11.1% expected in the Reuters poll.

“Lower inflation opens room for the government to loosen monetary policies further. The probability of interest rate cut is rising, in our view,” Zhiwei Zhang, chief economist at Pinpoint Asset Management, wrote in a note after the release of China’s inflation data.

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Stocks on Wall Street rallied for a second day after a rocky start to the year.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite gained 1.41% to 15,153.45, building on an afternoon rally from the previous session that snapped a four-day losing streak. The S&P 500 rose 0.92% to 4,713.07, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 183.15 points, or 0.51%, to close at 36,252.02.

“Stocks rebounded, reversing the recent downward trend, as comments from Powell reassured investors that the Fed is prepared to tighten monetary policy to maintain price stability,” ANZ Research analysts Brian Martin and Daniel Hynes wrote in a note.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell said Tuesday that rate hikes and tighter policy will be needed to control inflation, but did not announce an accelerated change in policy from what the central bank had already signaled.

Concerns on global economic growth also surfaced as the World Bank Tuesday cut growth forecasts for the U.S., the Euro zone as well as China. It warned that high debt levels, rising income inequality and new coronavirus variants threatened the recovery in developing economies.

Currencies and oil

Oil prices continued to inch up after soaring more than 3% on Tuesday. U.S. crude was up 0.27% to $81.47 per barrel, and Brent crude futures rose marginally to $83.77 per barrel.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 95.601, falling from levels above 95.9 earlier in the week.

The Japanese yen traded at 115.28 per dollar. The Australian dollar was at $0.7208, up from previous levels of around $0.71.

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