China RRR cut, Dow jumps on omicron optimism
SINGAPORE — Stocks across Asia-Pacific jumped on Tuesday, bouncing back from Monday losses as Wall Street rallied on optimism that the omicron variant risk might not be as bad as feared.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng jumped 2.48%, as casino and property shares rose. Tech stocks also recovered from the previous session. Tencent was up 3.39%, and Alibaba soared 11.8% after losing nearly 6% Monday.
The Hang Seng Tech index soared 3.89%.
Mainland Chinese stocks were subdued however, with the Shanghai composite edging up 0.16% to close at 3,595.03 and the Shenzhen component down 0.38% to 14,697.17. China’s trade data for November showed that imports came in above expectations, jumping 31.7% in November, according to Reuters. But exports were below expectations, rising 22%.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 jumped 1.89% to close at 28,455.60, while the Topix was up 2.17% to 1,989.85. SoftBank shares rebounded nearly 8% after plummeting over 8% on Monday as it tracked losses of tech giants Alibaba and Didi.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 1.64%.
Evergrande shares struggled to recover from Monday’s record lows. While the stock initially rallied in Tuesday trade, shares lost steam and were recently seen trading just 1.66% higher.
On Friday, the embattled real estate developer said it cannot guarantee it has sufficient funds for its repayment obligations and moved toward a plan to restructure its offshore debt.
On Monday, it said in a filing with the Hong Kong exchange that it’s setting up a risk management committee, which will play a role in mitigating and eliminating future risks for the firm.
China’s central bank had announced after market hours on Monday that it would cut the reserve requirement ratio, or the amount of cash that banks must hold as reserves, for the second time this year. It will release 1.2 trillion yuan ($282 billion) to boost slowing growth amid the pandemic.
“Another bonus to the improvement in risk sentiment overnight was news of policy easing coming from China,” said Rodrigo Catril, senior FX strategist at National Australia Bank in an early morning note.
“Perhaps more important than the RRR announcement, the PBOC decision was closely followed by a statement from the communist party central committee vowing to stabilize the economy in 2022, signalling an easing of some property curbs,” he wrote. China’s real estate sector has been hit by the government’s moves to rein in debt.
Other Hong Kong-listed property shares also rose. Sun Hung Kai was up 4.43%, and China Vanke jumped 2.77%. Sunac soared over 15%.
White House Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci had said that the initial data on the omicron variant was “encouraging,” though he cautioned that more information was needed to fully understand it.
Stocks on Wall Street jumped on that optimism, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average soaring nearly 650 points — erasing its losses from the previous week. The Nasdaq Composite climbed out of negative territory and ended 0.9% higher to 15,225.15. The S&P 500 rose 1.1% to 4,591.67.
Oil prices also spiked almost 5% on Monday as Covid fears eased. On Tuesday during Asia hours, prices continued to rise. U.S. crude rose 1.64% to $70.63 per barrel, while Brent futures was up 1.38% to $74.10.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 96.214 — continuing its ascent from levels above 96.1 in previous sessions.