Asian Stocks Up, Calm Returns After Previous Week’s Government Debt Slide
Asia Pacific stocks were mostly up Monday morning, as a measured of calm returned after the turmoil sparked by a slide in government debt during the previous week. Investors also digested economic data from China, Japan, and Korea.
China’s Shanghai Composite was up 0.39% by 10:05 PM ET (3:05 AM GMT) and the Shenzhen Component rose 1.84%. February’s manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) released on Sunday was 50.6, below the 51.1 in forecasts prepared by Investing.com and down from January’s 51.3 figure. The non-manufacturing PMI was 51.4, also down from January’s 52.4.
The Caixin manufacturing PMI was 50.9, against the 51.5 in forecasts prepared by Investing.com and January’s 51.5 figure. The Caixin services PMI will be released later in the week.
China’s leadership will convene at the annual National People’s Congress meeting, where it will unveil major economic goals, on Mar. 5.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index gained 0.72%, as investors await the results of a Hang Seng Indexes Co. industry consultation over proposed changes to the index, to be released later in the day.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 jumped 2.19%. Japan released its own manufacturing PMI, which read 51.4 in February. This was above the 50.6 predicted in Investing.com forecasts and January’s 49.8 figure.
South Korean markets were closed for a holiday. Meanwhile, Korean exports grew 9.5% in February year-on-year, against the 9.5% growth in Investing.com forecasts and lower than January’s 11.4% growth. Meanwhile, imports grew 13.9% year-on-year, higher than the 12.3% growth predicted by Investing.com and January’s 3.6% growth.
In Australia, the ASX 200 rose 1.15%. The Reserve Bank of Australia will hand down its monetary policy on Tuesday.
Central banks globally moved decisively to calm a bonds selloff, triggered by U.S. Treasury yields rising to their highest levels in a year, which also led to a stock selloff.
Investors had been worried that rising inflation could lead to a drawback of monetary policy support, despite U.S. Federal Reserve assurances that higher yields reflected an optimistic outlook for economic growth.
“The market is testing the Fed and global central banks as to how serious they are here … there are growth expectations and growing inflation concerns, and that’s playing out in the markets,” Lexerd Capital Management chief executive officer Al Lord told Bloomberg.
Investor sentiment was also boosted after the U.S. House of Representatives passed the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 stimulus package proposed by President Joe Biden over the weekend. The bill now heads to the Senate, where it looks to garner Republican support.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration also approved a third COVID-19 vaccine, the candidate developed by Johnson & Johnson, over the weekend.
The U.S. also releases economic data later in the week, including the Fed Beige Book on Wednesday and the U.S. employment report two days later. Fed Chair Jerome Powell will also discuss the economy at a Wall Street Journal event scheduled for Thursday.