Asia Markets Gain as Hong Kong's Hang Seng Jumps Nearly 3%

Toru Hanai | Bloomberg | Getty Images
  • Shares in the Asia Pacific markets rose on Friday, with Hong Kong's Hang Seng index leading gains.
  • Chinese electric vehicle maker Nio started trading in Singapore, the third exchange its shares are listed on.
  • China kept its one-year benchmark lending rate on hold at 3.7%, but cut its five-year loan prime rate by 15 basis points.

SINGAPORE — Shares in the Asia Pacific markets rose on Friday, with Hong Kong stocks leading gains as a volatile trading week comes to a close.

The Hang Seng index closed up 2.96% at 20,717.24, while the Hang Seng Tech index spiked 4.74% to end the session at 4,284.42. Chinese stocks listed in Hong Kong closed higher, with Xpeng up 6.99% and Baidu rising 5.19%.

In other developments, China kept its one-year benchmark lending rate on hold at 3.7%, but cut its five-year loan prime rate (LPR) by 15 basis points. It was the second cut this year.

"This is a long-anticipated move against the backdrop of Covid disruptions, and the reduction is more than the market expected," said Chaoping Zhu, a global market strategist and JPMorgan Asset Management.

Bank loans have declined sharply, signaling a lack of confidence among businesses and households, Zhu said in an email. Friday's LPR cut, together with the reserve requirement ratio cut in April, may help to boost demand in the property and land market, Zhu added.

Julian Evans-Pritchard, senior China economist at Capital Economics, said the five-year LPR cut was the largest reduction on record and is aimed at supporting housing demand.

Mainland Chinese stocks climbed on Friday. The Shanghai Composite closed 1.6% higher at 3,146.57, while the Shenzhen Component gained 1.82% to close at 11,454.53.

Shares of Chinese electric vehicle maker Nio surged in its Singapore debut on Friday, the third exchange its shares are listed on. The stock popped at the open, rising by nearly 20% before paring most gains to close around 2.4% higher.

Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 1.27% to 26,739.03, and the Topix advanced 0.93% to 1,877.37. Japan's core consumer prices, which include energy costs but not fresh food, rose 2.1% in April compared to a year earlier, in line with economists' estimates, Reuters reported.

The S&P/ASX 200 in Australia closed 1.15% higher at 7,145.6.

In South Korea, the Kospi gained 1.81% to close at 2,639.29, while the Kosdaq climbed 1.86% to 879.88. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose around 2%.

U.S.-listed tech stocks pop

Shares of Grab soared in the U.S. overnight after the Southeast Asian ride-hailing and food delivery company reported 6% growth in revenue and predicted that business would improve as more countries ease Covid restrictions.

The stock closed 24.11% higher at $3.14, off the day's high of $3.68. Shares continued to rise nearly 2% in after-hours trade.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co shares also popped on Thursday in the U.S. following a report that it plans to open a plant in Singapore.

The stock rose as high as $92.10, but closed 0.35% lower at $90.21. In after-hours trade, TSMC climbed 0.21%.

Overnight on Wall Street, major U.S. stock indexes fell, with the S&P 500 moving closer to a bear market. Investors fear that the Fed hikes could tip the U.S. into a recession.

The S&P 500 fell 0.58% to 3,900.79, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 236.94 points, or 0.75%, to 31,253.13. The Nasdaq Composite was down 0.26% to 11,388.50. Those moves followed sharp drops on Wednesday.


The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 102.913, falling from above 103.5 earlier this week.

The Japanese yen changed hands at 127.97 per dollar, while the Australian dollar was at $0.7045.

Crude oil futures fell in Asia's afternoon trade. U.S. crude slipped 0.5% to $111.65 per barrel, while international benchmark Brent crude was down 0.61% at $111.36 per barrel.

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