Hong Kong shares led gains in the Asia-Pacific region on Wednesday as investors looked ahead to the US Federal Reserves’ meeting minutes, watching for signs of more interest rate hikes.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 3.22%, with the Hang Seng Tech index gaining more than 3.31%. Mainland China’s Shanghai Composite was up 0.22% while the Shenzhen Component was down 0.20%. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 1.63%, and South Korea’s Kospi rose 1.68%, while the Kosdaq rose 1.22%.
The Nikkei 225 in Japan fell 1.45% and the Topix declined 1.22% as the au Jibun Bank Flash Japan Manufacturing Purchasing manager’s index for December fell further into contraction territory.
Investors are looking ahead to the release of the US Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, better known as JOLTS, as well as the minutes of the Fed’s latest policy meeting set to come out in the afternoon stateside.
Earlier on Tuesday, stocks on Wall Street closed lower after giving up earlier gains on concerns over rising rates and high inflation – with Tesla hitting its lowest level since August 2020, following disappointing fourth-quarter deliveries and Apple also falling on reports that it will cut production due to weak demand.
On Wednesday, Chinese technology and healthcare stocks listed in Hong Kong led gains in the Hang Seng index alongside property stocks.
Country Garden Services and Longfor Group saw the most gains, with both rising nearly 10% in Wednesday’s afternoon trade. Alibaba Health Information Technology also rose 8.87% and Hansoh Pharmaceutical Group gained 7.42%.
Baidu rose 6.97% and Alibaba traded 6.88% higher after Ant received approval to expand its consumer finance business. Netease shares also rose 5.23% in the afternoon trade.
Wall Street loses
US stocks closed lower Tuesday, giving up earlier gains, as concerns such as rising rates and high inflation that knocked the market down last year continued to trouble investors in the New Year.
The S&P 500 fell 0.40% to close at 3,824.14 slipping from highs of the day when December’s manufacturing index declined at the fastest pace since May 2020. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the day down 10.88 points, or 0.03%, to 33,136.37 as shares of Boeing offset losses. The Nasdaq Composite shed 0.76% to 10,386.99.
Shares of Tesla and Apple both slipped, weighing on the broader market and carrying forward a main theme from 2022, when the technology sector was hit hard as the Federal Reserve raised rates to fight inflation. Tesla fell 12.24%, hitting its lowest level since August 2020, following disappointing fourth-quarter deliveries. Apple shed 3.74% on reports that it will cut production due to weak demand.
The sentiment may continue in 2023 as the central bank is poised to continue to hike interest rates in the coming months, stoking fears that the US economy may fall into a recession.