Asian Markets Edge Higher, Investors React to China Data Release
Shares in Asia-Pacific edged higher on Friday as investors reacted to the release of Chinese economic data.
Mainland Chinese stocks closed higher as the Shanghai composite gained 0.81% to 3,426.62 while the Shenzhen component advanced 0.296% to 13,720.74. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 0.76%, as of its final hour of trading.
China’s gross domestic product surged 18.3% in the first three months of the year from a year ago, the country’s National Bureau of Statistics said Friday. That was slightly lower than expectations for a 19% increase.
Meanwhile, retail sales jumped 34.2% in March, beating expectations of 28% growth. Industrial production missed expectations as it rose 14.1% in March, against Reuters’ prediction of 17.2% growth.
The Nikkei 225 in Japan finished the trading day 0.14% higher at 29,683.37 while the Topix index climbed about 0.1% to 1,960.87. South Korea’s Kospi closed 0.13% higher at 3,198.62.
Australian stocks nudged higher as the S&P/ASX 200 rose fractionally to finish its trading day at 7,063.50.
Over in India, the Nifty 50 advanced 0.61% while the BSE Sensex climbed 0.36%, as of around 1:01 p.m. local time. The gains came despite the Covid situation in the country remains severe, with data released Thursday showing daily virus infections crossing the 200,000 marks.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan gained 0.46%.
Overnight stateside, the Dow surged 305.10 points to a record close of 34,035.99 — the first time it has crossed the 34,000 level. The S&P 500 also reached a record high, jumping 1.11% to 4,170.42. The Nasdaq Composite climbed 1.31% to 14,038.76.
Asian Markets Currencies and oil
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, sat at 91.713 following its weakening earlier this week from above 92.1.
The Japanese yen traded at 108.87 per dollar, having strengthened from levels above 109.6 against the greenback earlier in the trading week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.774, above levels below $0.768 seen earlier this week.
Oil prices were higher in the afternoon of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures rising 0.25% to $67.11 per barrel. U.S. crude futures gained 0.22% to $63.60 per barrel.