Asian stocks dip amid weak economic cues, Hang Seng slides

  • Stock Market News
Asian stocks dip amid weak economic cues, Hang Seng slides
Credit: © Reuters. Most Asian stocks fell on Friday following weak economic signals from Japan and the euro zone, while steep losses in index heavyweight Chow Tai Fook Jewellery dragged Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index lower.

Trading volumes were muted, while markets also saw little overnight cues on account of a U.S. market holiday. Most regional bourses were also set to end the week unchanged as markets grew uncertain over the path of U.S. interest rates in the coming year. 

The Hang Seng was the worst performer among its peers on Friday, down 1.5% on a 11% slump in shares of luxury goods retailer Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group Ltd (HK: 1929 ). The retailer, which is part of the Chow Tai Fook Group conglomerate, clocked strong earnings growth for the six months to Sept 30.

But uncertainty over succession plans for the group, coupled with concerns of slowing demand for luxury goods in China and Hong Kong largely offset the stronger earnings. Real estate firm New World Development Co Ltd (HK: 0017 ), which is also part of the conglomerate, fell 0.6% in Hong Kong trade.

Broader Chinese stocks also fell as shares of major property developers saw some profit taking after a strong week. Expectations of more policy support for the sector had spurred strong gains in property stocks, as Beijing prepared a whitelist of developers to provide them with easy access to funding. 

China’s Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 index fell 0.5%, while the Shanghai Composite fell 0.4%. 

Focus was now squarely on purchasing managers index data from China, due next week, for more cues on business activity. Still, Goldman Sachs recently said it was positive on the outlook for Chinese stocks through 2024, as an economic recovery picks up steam. 

Weak business activity readings from Japan and the euro zone provided negative cues to markets, especially as both regions also clocked negative GDPs in the third quarter. U.S. PMI readings for November were due later in the day. 

But Japan’s Nikkei 225 index rose 0.6% in catch-up trade after a holiday on Thursday. Weaker-than-expected consumer inflation data for October also fed into expectations that the Bank of Japan will have more headroom to remain ultra-dovish for longer, even as underlying Japanese inflation still remained sticky. 

Other Asian indexes were mostly negative. Australia’s ASX 200 rose 0.3%, while South Korea’s KOSPI fell 0.3%. 

Futures for India’s Nifty 50 index pointed to a slightly negative open. But the Nifty remained in sight of a record high, while a Reuters poll also showed that markets were largely bullish on Indian stocks over the next six months, with resilience in the Indian economy set to drive the Nifty to new record highs. 

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