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Asian Stock Markets Rally as Interest Rates Steady, Wall Street Flash Green

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Last updated: 03/03/2021 05:31:14

05:31 AM EST, 03/03/2021 (MT Newswires) -- Asian stock markets staged a broad rally Wednesday, as benchmark 10-year US Treasury and other yields steadied and even slipped a bit, easing fears of higher inflation and interest rates in the months ahead. Hong Kong rose 2.7%, and Shanghai and Tokyo also pushed forward, along with other regional exchanges. Wall Street futures markets started flashing green again during Asian trading hours.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 opened higher, waffled, but finished up 0.5% as traders took comfort from steady global interest rates and a softer yen, the latter regarded as a positive in export-oriented Japan. Overnight declines on Wall Street were shrugged off.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 rose 150.93 to 29,559.10, as gaining issues outnumbered losers 177 to 44.

The Tokyo Stock Exchange REIT Index lost 0.1% on the day.

In other news, shares in the nation's central bank, the Bank of Japan, are escalating on Tokyo's exchanges. As with the Swiss National Bank, the Bank of Japan trades publicly, although shareholder rights are conscribed. In Wednesday trading, BoJ shares rose 17.5%, and are up nearly 90% in the month of February. The BoJ share price surge reflects unusual retail investor interest, said analysts.

In economic news, the au Jibun Bank Japan Services Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) for February posted at 46.3, up from 46.1 in January, but below the 50-marker that separates contraction from expansion for the 13th month in row. Japan experienced its third, and by far largest, wave of COVID-19 cases in December and early January, prompting national authorities to place greater Tokyo and several other regions under a state of emergency starting on Jan. 7.

The Hong Kong Hang Seng Index opened higher and rallied through the day, finishing up 2.7% as traders moved back into the market after a sell-off in the previous session triggered by a China regulator's commentary about "bubble" asset values.

The Hang Seng declined 1.2% on Tuesday, pacing losses in other major Asia-Pacific markets, after Guo Shuqing, the head of China's banking and insurance watchdog agency, said global asset prices were in a bubble, and China property risky, due to central-bank easy money. But by Wednesday, market denizens set aside concerns that the People's Bank of China might engage in a tighter monetary policy, said analysts. Also, Wall Street futures markets began flashing green again during Hong Kong trading hours.

The broad gauge Hang Seng rose 784.56 to 29,880.42, as gaining issues outnumbered losers 48 to four.

Leading the upside were gaming-house Galaxy Entertainment (27:HK), up 7.7% on eased quarantine rules on visiting gamblers to Macau.

The Hang Seng TECH Index rose 1.2% on the day.

On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite rose 1.95% to 3,576.90.

In economic news, Caixin China Business Activity Index, also called the General Services PMI, edged down to 51.5 in February from 52.0 in January, still above the 50-marker that separates growth from contraction, but the softest report in 10 months.

On the other exchanges, the S. Korean Kospi rose 1.3%; the Taiwan TWSE inclined 1.7%; the Australian ASX 200 inclined 0.8%; the Singapore Straits Times Index rose 0.9%, and the Thai Set inclined 2.7%. In late trading in Mumbai, the Sensex was up 2.3%.

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