GLOBAL MARKETS-Asia shares higher as investors overlook U.S. hedge fund default

  • Reuters
  • Stock Market News
GLOBAL MARKETS-Asia shares higher as investors overlook U.S. hedge fund default
Credit: © Reuters.

By Scott Murdoch and Alwyn Scott

HONG KONG, March 30 (Reuters) - Asian share markets strengthened Tuesday as investors remained focused on the global vaccination program and shook off worries about a hedge fund default that hit international banking stocks overnight.

European stocks look set to open higher with Euro Stoxx futures STXEc1 up 0.35% and Britain's FTSE futures FFIc1 0.33% higher.

Sentiment among Asian investors was mixed early but turned positive later in the session with most of the region's major markets trading higher.

The MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS was 0.6% higher, while mainland China's CSI300 index .CSI300 rose 1%.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index .HSI found 1.2% to reach 28,668, driven up by a rebound in the city's tech stock index which has been under pressure from concerns about the Chinese government's move to increase regulation of those companies.

Japan's Nikkei .N225 was flat, dragged down by Nomura share price weakness, while Australia sounded a weaker tone when the S&P/ASX200 .ASXJO closed down 0.9% at its lowest point for a week.

Credit Suisse 's Asia Pacific senior investment strategist Jack Siu said the prospect of Asian travel bubbles being established had sparked enthusiasm among some investors in the region.

"Tourism dependent Asian economies will benefit," he said.

Hong Kong's commerce secretary Edward Yau flagged Monday the government had restarted talks with Singapore to re-establish a potential travel bubble between the cities.

Investor sentiment was still closely tied to the pace of the global vaccine rollout, said Citigroup (NYSE: C ) equity derivative solutions director Elizabeth Tian.

"Investors will also be watching the number of COVID cases as rises in Western Europe and the Philippines sees the return of renewed restrictions, while vaccination attempts threaten to stall amidst supply constraints and vaccine nationalism," Tian said.

"While restrictions are increased in Europe, the UK will be relaxing stay at home rules," she added.

Nomura 8604.T and Credit Suisse CSGN.S are facing billions of dollars in losses and regulatory scrutiny after a U.S. investment firm, named by sources as Archegos Capital, defaulted on equity derivative bets, putting investors on edge about who else might be exposed.

Nomura 9716.T shares were down a further 1.1% Tuesday after dropping by as much as 16% on Monday when it revealed it could take a $2 billion loss from the hedge fund fallout.

"I don't think the Archegos Capital issue is over yet, it will still be an issue going forward," said Kingston Securities executive director Dickie Wong. "The shares have been dumped but there are some investors thinking perhaps family offices could face greater regulation in the future."

Wall Street pared early losses driven by the banking sector on fears that issues from the downfall of Archegos could spread throughout the banking sector. Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI rose 0.3%, the S&P 500 .SPX lost 0.09% and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC dropped 0.6%.

Benchmark 10-year yields US10YT=RR hit 1.7456%, up 2.9 basis points, after earlier trading marginally higher in the U.S. after the state of New York on Monday announced people aged 30 and older could get coronavirus vaccinations starting March 30. treasuries rose 2.4 bps to a one-year high of 0.915% during the Asian session.

Oil prices rose as the market's focus turned to an OPEC+ meeting this week where the extension of supply curbs may be on the table amid new coronavirus pandemic lockdowns. Global assets

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