Asia-Pacific Stocks Outperform Amid Buying Spree

Asia-Pacific Stocks Outperform Amid Buying Spree

It was mixed feelings for major Asia-Pacific stocks, with Japan and Hong Kong markets delivering the biggest gains of the week. The South Korea market on the other hand suffered the biggest loss despite recording a strong start to the New Year, with China and Australian stocks finishing marginally lower.

The cash market also witnessed some movements, with Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index recording a 1.35% gain to settle at 28519.18 while South Korea’s KOSPI Index finished at 3085.90, moving -2.10% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index closed at 28573.86, up 695.64 or +2.50%. China’s Shanghai Index fell 0.10% to close at 3566.38 while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 finished at 6715.40, representing a 0.63% fall.

Drug makers led Japan’s Nikkei with the share average reaching a new 30-year high, following a report of another effective COVID-19 treatment. Chugai Pharmaceutical championed the move, jumping 5.91% on the drug-effectiveness news, which helped to boost the drug maker index by 1.68%. The likes of Takeda Pharmaceutical, Eisai, and Shionogi & Co also gained between 1.95% and 3.38%.

The Nikkei recently extended its rally into a fifth session with technology shares tracking a surge in the popular US chipmaker Intel Corp and better-than-expected core machinery orders data lifted sentiment. The gains were led by chip-related shares, tracking a 7% rise in Intel shares following the company’s announcement to replace its CEO, with expectations that the company will surpass its Q4 financial forecast.

Hong Kong stocks also recorded fantastic gains, hitting a near one-year closing high and consequently posting their third straight weekly gain, a move reportedly fueled by robust mainland inflows via the Stock Connect.

According to Refinitiv data, mainland investors steadily pile in, acquiring a net 14 billion Yuan ($2.16 billion) worth of Hong Kong stocks via the Stock Connect linking mainland and the Asian financial hub to shrug off the latest Sino-U.S. tensions.

In a similar vein, investors in Asia and Europe snatched up discounted Chinese stocks affected by a U.S. investment ban to find bargains as giant American funds bail out and allay concerns of the sanctions hurting the prospects of the companies.

The scrap of the planned investment ban involving the likes of Alibaba and Tencent has been attributed to the boost in Hong Kong shares, with reports of a possible big U.S. stimulus package also driving up sentiment. Consequently, Hong Kong shares of Alibaba and Tencent recorded 5% and 5.62% gains respectively, pushing the IT sector sub-index 4.46% higher.

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