Asian markets rally as China tech share surge lifts sentiment
Hong Kong and Shanghai led a rally across Asia on Friday on hopes Beijing is set to ease its long-running crackdown on the tech sector.
But sentiment remains fragile as traders operate under the shadows of war, soaring inflation, US interest rate hikes and China's lockdowns.
Wall Street finished solidly higher Thursday to recoup losses suffered earlier in the week as investors brushed off data showing a sharper-than-expected first-quarter economic contraction and took heart on strong spending figures.
A healthy showing by Facebook parent Meta also provided a lift to Wall Street, though tech titans Apple and Amazon brought everything back down to Earth with their post-close reports.
There was some much-needed good news for China's embattled tech sector after the official Xinhua news agency said a meeting of the government's decision-making body ended with officials saying it was "necessary to promote the healthy development of the platform economy" and "complete its rectification".
The news suggests an easing of the sweeping clampdown on the country's biggest firms.
In the Politburo meeting, chaired by Xi Jinping, officials also said there was a need to "respond to market concerns in a timely manner".
Hong Kong climbed more than three percent with titans Alibaba and JD.com up more than 13 percent each, while Tencent put on around 10 percent.
Shanghai put on more than two percent, while there were also healthy gains across the rest of the region.
Sydney, Seoul, Singapore and Taipei all piled on more than one, with Mumbai, Wellington and Jakarta also up.
London, Paris and Frankfurt all rose at the start of the day.
Still, traders are increasingly concerned the recovery in the US economy could be thrown off course, warning officials will struggle to achieve a soft landing by controlling prices while still nurturing growth.
"The Fed’s record on soft landings is not that strong," Carol Schleif, at BMO Family Office, told Bloomberg Television.
"Markets are watching very, very carefully to see if we can thread that needle."
Inflation data due later in the day will be closely watched for a better handle on the outlook.
Still, most markets in Asia rose heading into the weekend, with hopes China will continue its recent run of pledges of support.
Oil was slightly higher as the commodity continues to win support from the Ukraine war, though investors remain wary about the impact on demand from China caused by the Covid-19 lockdowns.
The advances follow a rally on Thursday as Europe discussed a gradual ban on Russian imports, with Germany -- which relies heavily on energy from the country -- edging towards support for a move.
- Key figures at around 0720 GMT -
Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: UP 3.3 percent at 20,941.71
Shanghai - Composite: UP 2.4 percent at 3,047.06 (close)
Tokyo - Nikkei 225: Closed for a holiday
London - FTSE 100: UP 0.5 percent at 7,549.93
Euro/dollar: UP at $1.0542 from $1.0509 late Thursday
Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.2532 from $1.2468
Euro/pound: DOWN at 84.12 pence from 84.25 pence
Dollar/yen: DOWN at 130.31 yen from 130.79 yen
Brent North Sea crude: UP 0.8 percent at $108.46 per barrel
West Texas Intermediate: UP 0.5 percent at $105.92 per barrel
New York - Dow: UP 1.9 percent at 33,916.39 (close)
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