Asian Stocks Up, Easing Lockdowns In China Offers Hopes

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Asian Stocks Up, Easing Lockdowns In China Offers Hopes
Credit: © Reuters.

By Gina Lee

Investing.com – Asia Pacific stocks were up on Wednesday morning as easing lockdowns in China offer some hope for the economic outlook.

China’s Shanghai Composite inched up 0.03% by 10:32 PM ET (2:32 AM GMT) while the Shenzhen Component inched up 0.08%. Shanghai eased its lockdown on June 1, raising hopes that economic activity will pick up.

The Caixin manufacturing purchasing index released earlier in the day recorded 48.1 in May. The data is still better than the 48 that Investing.com predicted, and above the 46 recorded in April.

Asia technology stocks may also find some support as Chinese stocks listed in the U.S. recorded their first monthly gain since October.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 gained 0.66%, and In Australia, the ASX 200  edged up 0.13%.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index edged down 0.18%.

The South Korean market is closed for a holiday.

Investors continued to assess how aggressive monetary tightening will be to calm inflation.

Treasuries extended a decline, pushing 10-year yields toward 2.86% as investors raised bets on U.S. Federal Reserve interest rate hikes. Swaps show that investors have almost fully priced in two half-point interest rate hikes in June and July.

With inflation squeezing consumers, investors are also concerned about the aggressive tightening from the Fed might cause a recession. Euro-zone consumer prices jumped 8.1% year on year in May.

“It’s times like these when investors need a crystal ball,” (LPL Financial strategists Jeff Buchbinder and Ryan Detrick said in a note.

“We fully acknowledge how tough it is to see the bull case for stocks right now, and a retest of recent lows is certainly possible, but this week we lay out the bull case for the second half of the year. It starts with inflation.”

“There are heightened concerns around inflation and where central banks are likely to go trying to combat inflation,” Invesco Advisers chief global markets strategist Kristina Hooper told Bloomberg.

“This has gone from just an inflation scare to a growth scare. Uncertainty has grown,” Hooper added.

U.S. President Joe Biden met with Fed Chairman Jerome Powell on Tuesday with inflation at its 40 years high. Biden stressed that he respects the central bank’s independence but also affirmed a “laser focus on addressing inflation” ahead of the November midterms.

The Fe is set to start shrinking its $8.9 trillion balance sheet and release its Beige Book , later in the day. New York Fed President John Williams and St. Louis Fed President James Bullard will speak at separate events later in the day.

On the data front, the U.S. jobs report, including non-farm payrolls, is also due on Friday.

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