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Asia stocks rise with several indexes hitting record highs; China trade data awaited

·4 mins


Several Asia-Pacific Stock Indexes Hit Record Highs as Investors Await China’s Trade Data #

Asia-Pacific stock indexes reached record highs on Thursday, with the Nikkei 225 and Taiwan weighted index hitting all-time highs. The broader Topix also reached a record high, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 surged, along with rising stocks in South Korea. Stocks in China showed mixed performance, with the China CSI 300 index rising and the Hang Seng index dipping. Strong earnings and a share buyback plan announcement from contributed to a surge in the company’s Hong Kong-listed shares. In the US, major indexes regained ground after two days of declines, although some tech giants did not participate in the rally.

Australian Owner-Occupier Home Loans Decline in January #

In Australia, the number of new owner-occupier home loans fell by 2.6% in January, according to data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Despite the decline for two consecutive months, owner-occupier lending experienced a 1.5% growth over the year. Additionally, new loan commitments for housing dropped by 3.9%, while personal fixed-term lending increased by 6%.

Nikkei 225 Hits All-Time High Led by Energy and Financials Stocks #

The Nikkei 225 in Japan surged to a new all-time high, driven by gains in the energy and financial sectors. Kawasaki Heavy Industries, a motorcycle and heavy-equipment manufacturer, experienced substantial growth, as did financial services firm Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Holdings and copper ore company Mitsui Mining & Smelting.

Bitcoin sees a Minor Dip after Recent Rally #

Bitcoin experienced a slight drop following a rapid rally that saw it briefly reaching a record high. The popular cryptocurrency fell by 0.5% to trade at $66,132.42. The boost in liquidity and the possibility of Federal Reserve rate cuts are contributing to the rise in risk assets. U.S. spot bitcoin ETFs also played a role in driving gains, while bitcoin supply is gradually tightening ahead of the halving event in late April.

Foreign Investors Interested in India’s Growth Prospects #

India’s strong economic growth prospects are attracting global investors, although navigating foreign ownership limits, tax implications, and corporate governance concerns can be challenging. The International Monetary Fund predicts a 6.5% expansion in India’s real GDP for 2024.

Investors Consider Value Stocks Amid Expensive Growth Stocks #

As growth stocks become increasingly expensive, some investors are turning their attention to value stocks. With the S&P 500 at a relatively high level, owning parts of the market with value-oriented names and earning “carry,” income, and dividends is a possible strategy. A screen of the Vanguard Value ETF reveals value stocks with significant upside potential and positive ratings.

Gold Futures Reach New All-Time High #

Gold futures for April settled at their highest-ever level during Wednesday’s trading session. Although gold futures hit an all-time high of $2,158.40 per ounce, the record close will depend on whether gold ends the session in positive territory. In inflation-adjusted terms, gold’s highest-ever price was $3,460.77 per ounce in January 1980.

Apple Continues to Decline, Losing Market Value #

Apple’s shares have continued to decline, leading to significant losses in market value. With a six-day slide and a 5.5% decline within just one week, Apple’s year-to-date loss has reached almost 12%. The company’s market value has plummeted by $352 billion to $2.63 trillion in 2024, allowing Microsoft to become the largest company in the U.S. with a market value of $2.99 trillion.

Powell Reiterates Federal Reserve’s Stance on Interest Rate Cuts #

In his prepared remarks, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell stated that the central bank was not yet ready to cut interest rates. The decision to adjust the policy rate will depend on assessing incoming data, the evolving economic outlook, and the balance of risks. Powell also indicated that rate policy is likely at its peak for this tightening cycle and mentioned the possibility of dialing back policy restraint at some point this year, assuming the economy performs as expected.