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Asian markets open 7-month highs on Wednesday

Asian markets open 7-month highs on Wednesday
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January 25, 2023 (MLN): Asian equities reached their highest levels in seven months on Wednesday, after some regional markets reopened after holidays, and the Australian dollar hit multi-month highs amid rising inflationary pressures, as per Reuters.

“MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan (MIAPJ0000PUS) rose 0.2% to a seven-month high but traded below the day’s peak”, Reuters noted.

Similarly, South Korean shares (KS11) gained 1.3%, Nikkei (N225) put on 0.4% and Singapore (STI) jumped by 1.6%, respectively.

“Chinese and Taiwanese market’s trading volume was depressed because stocks are still closed due to the lunar new year holidays”, the report added.

Reuters further highlighted, “European markets were headed for a weak opening, with Eurostoxx 50 futures down 0.3%, German DAX futures eased 0.2% lower and FTSE futures were steady.”

Moreover, E-mini futures for the S&P 500 fell by 0.5%, and Nasdaq futures shed 0.8% on Wednesday.

After a torrid 2022, stock markets have posted strong gains this year, based on expectations that inflation is close to peaking and the rise in U.S. interest rates will taper off.

Easing COVID-19 restrictions in China and reopening borders has further boosted investor confidence.

Michael Every, Rabobank’s global strategist in a report said, “The market continues to price for a dream scenario of inflation having peaked then coming down sharply, but not overshooting to the downside; only the very mildest of recessions by any historical standards.”

After declining by 20% in 2022, the MSCI Asia Index rallied by 9% in 2023.

Yesterday, the US stock indexes closed mixed on the news of better-than-expected profits by companies amid tight financial conditions.

Data showed U.S. business activity contracted for a troubling seventh straight month in January, Reuters highlighted.

Company-wise, shares in Microsoft (MSFT.O) gave up most of their 4% gains posted in after-hours trade.

The tech companies’ surprising results showed some strength in the face of a weak economy but weak revenue growth signaled tougher times for the sector.

MSCI’s all-country world index (MIWD00000PUS) eked out a fresh five-month closing high on Tuesday.

On the European side, the interest rate is still high despite the fall in energy prices and reducing inflationary pressure, but Stronger-than-expected economic data in Europe eased market worries of a sharp recession.

“The euro edged towards a nine-month peak of $1.0927 against the dollar, as euro bulls were encouraged by a rosier growth outlook for the eurozone against signs of a recession looming in the United States”, Reuters noted.

On Wednesday, Australian equity markets (AXJO) fell by 0.3% on the back of the surge in inflation to a 33-year high in the last quarter of 2022 reinforcing the case for the Reserve Bank of Australia to keep raising interest rates.

“Investors sharply narrowed the odds-on RBA lifting its cash rate by a quarter point to 3.35% when it meets on Feb. 7. Previously, some analysts had thought there was a chance that the RBA might pause its tightening campaign, but the pace of inflation put paid to that”, it added.

After reporting annual inflation of 7.2% in the fourth quarter, the New Zealand dollar rate decreased.

U.S. crude oil prices were stable at $80.3 a barrel after falling in the previous session as preliminary data indicated a bigger-than-expected rise in U.S. oil inventories.

Gold prices dipped to $1,927 per ounce, off a nine-month peak touched in the previous session.

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Posted on: 2023-01-25T12:36:00+05:00