Asian Shares Rise On Chinese Data, Stimulus

Asian stocks advanced on Friday as investors cheered strong economic data from the U.S. and China as well as signs that the world’s biggest central banks may soon end their tightening campaigns.

The dollar fell from a six-month peak against major peers and gold edged up, while oil prices were on track for a third consecutive week of gains on news that Chinese refiners broke refining rate records in August.

The euro sagged against the pound and dollar after the European Central Bank (ECB) piled on a 10th straight interest rate increase but signaled a potential end to its rate hike campaign aimed at curbing inflation.

China’s Shanghai Composite Index slipped 0.3 percent to 3,117.74 despite better-than-expected economic data and the announcement of a fresh cut to the amount of cash that banks must hold as reserves. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index jumped 0.8 percent to close at 18,182.89.

Chinese gauges of retail sales and industrial output for August came in above expectations, in a rare boost after policymakers stepped up stimulus measures to support the world’s second-biggest economy.

However, China’s new home prices fell at the fastest pace in 10 months in August, highlighting challenges in the property sector.

Meanwhile, Chinese health authorities said they would deal with an outbreak of monkeypox in the same way as other infectious diseases including COVID-19 and SARS beginning next week.

Japanese shares touched a two-month high as technology stocks surged after the strong market debut of SoftBank Group’s Arm Holdings.

The Nikkei 225 Index gained 1.1 percent to close at 33,533.09, marking its highest closing level since July 3. The broader Topix Index jumped 1.0 percent to 2,428.38, a more than 33-year high.

SoftBank Group shares surged as much as 5 percent before giving up some gains to close 2.1 percent higher. Tokyo Electron rallied 3.1 percent and Toyota Motor added 2.7 percent.

Seoul stocks posted strong gains, with the Kospi rising 1.1 percent to 2,601.28, tracking a strong overnight Wall Street finish.

Australian markets rallied as commodity stocks surged on improved Chinese data. Energy stocks such as Woodside Energy and Santos rose 1-2 percent after crude oil prices hit a fresh 10-month high. Miners BHP, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals Group soared 3-4 percent.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index climbed 1.3 percent to 7,279.0 – marking its best day since July 13. The broader All Ordinaries Index settled 1.4 percent higher at 7,482.60.

Across the Tasman, New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 Index rose 0.3 percent to 11,347.73 despite data showing the country’s manufacturing sector contracted again in August.

U.S. stocks posted strong gains overnight as investors cheered better-than-expected retail sales data and the blowout debut of chip designer Arm.

A batch of economic data showed an uptick for producer price inflation, solid retail sales and an uptick in weekly jobless claims.

The Dow gained 1 percent to notch its biggest gain in a month, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite and the S&P 500 both rose around 0.8 percent.

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