Most Asian stocks moved in a flat-to-low range on Friday, reeling from steep losses this week as hawkish central bank signals and rising yields battered sentiment, although a rebound in technology shares boosted Hong Kong’s Hang Seng.
Regional stocks saw some relief on Friday as U.S. Treasury yields somewhat stalled in overnight trade, after racing to multi-year peaks earlier this week. Wall Street indexes closed higher on Thursday after a series of losses, offering some positive cues to Asian markets.
Holidays in China and South Korea kept trading volumes muted on Friday.
Focus was now on key U.S. personal consumption data– the Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation gauge- after hawkish signals from the central bank battered markets over the past week.
Hong Kong stocks surge from 10-mth low amid bargain hunting
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was the biggest benefactor of bargain hunting, rallying 2.1% as it rebounded from a 10-month low.
Heavyweight technology stocks were among the key drivers of the rebound, with Baidu Inc (NASDAQ:BIDU) (HK:9888), Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (HK:9988) (NYSE:BABA) and Tencent Holdings Ltd (HK:0700)- the big three tech stocks of China- up between 1.7% and 3%.
Investors piled into heavily discounted Chinese stocks in hopes that the economy will receive a much-needed boost from the week-long mid-Autumn festival holiday, which begins today.
Growing concerns over slowing Chinese growth and a property market crash drove steep losses in the Hang Seng over the past month. The index was trading down 3.5% for September.
Asian stocks set for steep losses in September
Broader Asian markets were largely muted, but were mostly headed for steep losses in September. Hawkish signals from the Federal Reserve, a spike in oil prices and a sharp sell-off in the global bond market rattled sentiment towards risk-driven markets.
Worsening sentiment towards China also rattled local stocks, as fears of a property market crash surged after embattled developer China Evergrande Group (HK:3333) suspended all planned debt issuances due to a government investigation.
Australia’s ASX 200 rose 0.4% on Friday, but was down nearly 3.5% for September, hit chiefly by concerns over China.
India’s Nifty 50 and BSE Sensex 30 indexes were the few outperformers for September, and were set to add more than 1% each after clocking record highs earlier in the month. Nifty futures pointed to a slightly negative index for local stocks on Friday.