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Asian Stocks Up, but Slowdown in Chinese Economic Recovery Continues

By Gina Lee – Asia Pacific stocks were mostly up on Monday morning. However, Chinese data signaled a further slowdown in the country’s economic recovery, and the high probability of U.S. Federal Reserve interest-rate increases also weighed on investor sentiment.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.9% by 9:11 PM ET (2:11 AM GMT). December’s industrial production contracted 1% month-on-month, while retail sales grew 1.4% year-on-year.

In Australia, the ASX 200 was down 0.26%, with private sector credit growing 0.8% month-on-month in December.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was up 0.35% and will close early at 11 PM ET. Chinese and South Korean markets are closed for a holiday.

Chinese data released on Sunday showed that the manufacturing purchasing managers index (PMI) was 50.1, and the non-manufacturing PMI was 51.1, in January. Both indexes were above the 50-mark indicating growth, but manufacturing output fell, and consumer spending was hit by COVID-19 outbreaks in the country.

The Caixin manufacturing PMI was at 49.1. 

The Fed’s turn towards a more hawkish policy in its latest policy decision handed down during the previous week, alongside uneven corporate earnings, contributed to the recent market volatility.

Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic said that a 50 basis-point interest rate hike, or hikes at each policy meeting in 2022, is possible. But he added three quarter-point hikes starting March 2022 is the most likely scenario. San Francisco Fed President Mary Daly will speak later in the day.

Policy decisions from the European Central Bank and Bank of England are due on Thursday, while the Reserve Bank of Australia hands down its policy decision on Tuesday.

Companies including Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOGL), Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN), Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE:XOM), Ford Motor Co . (NYSE:F), Meta Platforms Inc. (NASDAQ:FB), Qualcomm Inc . (NASDAQ:QCOM), Sony Group Corp. (NYSE:SONY), Spotify Technology SA (NYSE:SPOT), and UBS Group AG (NYSE:UBS) will also release their earnings throughout the week. U.S. data including the Institute of Supply Management (ISM) non-manufacturing PMI, is due on Thursday.

Some investors remained cautiously positive that global stocks will see less volatility, even if only temporarily, after tumbling more than 6% in January.

The equity selloff “marks a long-overdue correction rather than the start of a bear market,” BCA Research Inc. analysts including Peter Berezin and Melanie Kermadjian said in a note.

“Stocks often suffer a period of indigestion when bond yields rise suddenly, but usually bounce back as long as yields do not move into economically restrictive territory,” the note added.

Other investors also took a positive view, with various speculative bubbles deflating without significantly affecting financial-market functioning or adversely impacting the economy, Yardeni Research president Ed Yardeni said in a note.

This reduces “the chances of a recession and a bear market in the S&P 500,” the note added.

Source :

© Reuters.

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