The major Asia-Pacific stock indexes rose sharply on Friday, with shares in China and Japan leading the charge higher. The indexes were underpinned initially by a strong performance on Wall Street.
China shares rose in response to a surge in January – February industrial profits which provided a boost to the economic recovery. Hong Kong shares climbed on a technology rebound and South Korean stocks gained on economic optimism. Strong commodity prices helped Australia shares jump.
In the cash market on Friday, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index settled at 29176.70, up 446.82 or +1.56%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index finished at 28336.43, up 436.82 or +1.57% and South Korea’s KOSPI Index closed at 3041.01, up 32.68 or +1.09%.
In China, the Shanghai Index settled at 3418.33, up 54.74 or +1.63% and in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 index gained 0.5% to close at 6842.20.
Annual profits at China’s industrial firms surged in the first two months of 2021, highlighting a rebound in the country’s manufacturing sector and a broad revival in economic activity from the coronavirus crisis early last year.
China’s blue-chip CSI300 Index rose on Friday and snapped a five-week losing streak, boosted by beaten-down consumer firms and strong inflows from foreign investors. Consumer staples stocks, which have been heavily sold off in recent weeks, led gains. A sub-index tracking the consumer staples sector rose 2.53%, led by foreign investor favorites Kweichow Moutai Co Ltd and Wuliangye Yibin Co.
Hong Kong Shares Rise on Tech Rebound
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index ended higher on Friday supported by gains in technology companies, but rising tensions between the West and China led the benchmark index to post losses for the week. The European Union joined Washington’s allies this week in imposing sanctions on officials in China’s Xinjiang region over allegations of human rights abuses, prompting retaliatory sanctions from Beijing.
Tech firms led Friday’s turnaround, up 2.33%. Meituan rose 5.08% and Tencent Holdings Ltd added 2.31%. Xiaomi Corp jumped 6.28% after Reuters reported the company planned to make electric vehicles using Great Wall Motor Co Ltd’s factory.
South Korean Stocks Gain on Economic Optimism
South Korean shares closed higher on Friday as optimism from improving U.S. economic data and an upgrade of growth forecast for the domestic economy lifted sentiment. Among heavyweights, technology giant Samsung Electronics rose 0.37% and peer SK Hynix gained 1.50%. LG Chem was up 1.78% and Naver added 0.79%.
Australia Shares Rise on Steady Commodities, Wall Street Rebound
Australian shares climbed on Friday, lifted by miners and oil and gas explorers as commodity prices stabilized, while an overnight rebound in Wall Street on signs of economic progress also lent support.
Miners led the gains after climbing nearly 1% as Chinese iron ore futures rose amid worries of supply shortages. Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals Group advanced 1.5% each.
Energy stocks climbed up to 1.1% as oil prices stabilized after a sharp drop overnight. Sector heavyweight Woodside Petroleum rose 2.4% while Santos gained more than 1%.
For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.