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Asian stocks rise as tech gains offset rate fears; China rebound holds

Published 23/02/2024, 02:08 pm
Updated 23/02/2024, 02:08 pm
© Reuters.

Investing.com-- 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, while Chinese stocks extended a rebound into a second week.

Still, bigger gains were held back by persistent concerns over higher-for-longer U.S. interest rates, especially following strong labor market data and hawkish signals from the Federal Reserve this week.

A market holiday in Japan also 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, which was driven largely 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 buoyed by Nvidia, AI cheer

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, while sentiment towards India was also improved by a strong purchasing managers index reading on the services sector. 

Chinese stocks pause, but set for weekly gains

Chinese stocks moved in a flat-to-low range on Friday, but were headed for a second straight week of gains, after the government rolled out a slew of 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% for this week- their second straight week of gains after hitting five-year lows earlier in February. 

Sentiment towards China was bolstered by signs of improved consumer spending 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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