Hong Kong's Hang Seng Closes 4% Higher, as Chinese Stocks Gain on Hopes of More Policy Support

Zhang Wei | China News Service via Getty Images
  • Shares in Asia-Pacific rose on Friday, with Chinese stocks leading gains regionally.
  • Technology stocks in Asia surged on Friday after the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite soared 3% overnight stateside.
  • Markets in Japan were closed on Friday for a holiday.

SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia-Pacific rose on Friday, with technology stocks in the region jumping following big gains on Wall Street that saw the Nasdaq Composite surging 3%.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index closed 4.01% higher at 21,089.39, leading gains among the region's major markets.

Mainland Chinese stocks also saw sizable gains, with the Shanghai Composite closing 2.41% higher at 3,047.06 while the Shenzhen Component soared 3.693% to around 11,021.44.

The surge in the China markets came after Chinese state media on Friday reported details of a Politburo meeting where officials promised more policy support to meet the country's economic growth target for the year.

"The most important message is a change of policy priority. In the past few weeks the top priority seems to be containing Omicron outbreaks. Now the goal is to balance containing outbreaks and economic growth. This suggests the government may fine-tune the 'zero tolerance' policy to allow some flexibility," Zhang Zhiwei, chief economist at Pinpoint Asset Management, wrote in a note.

Mainland China has in recent weeks been battling its worst Covid outbreak since the initial shock of the pandemic in early 2020, with concerns surrounding the country's economic outlook as authorities continues to stick with a strict "zero-Covid" strategy.

Investors also watched moves in Asia-Pacific technology stocks after their counterparts on Wall Street rallied overnight. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite jumped 3.06% to 12,871.53.

Chinese technology stocks jumped, with Tencent soaring 11.07% while Alibaba climbed 15.69%. The Hang Seng Tech index surged 9.96% to 4,471.75.

Shares of South Korean industry heavyweight Samsung Electronics gained 4.01% while chipmaker SK Hynix climbed 2.74%. Krafton jumped 4.78%.

South Korea's broader Kospi rose 1.03% to close at 2,695.05 while the S&P/ASX 200 in Australia advanced 1.06% to finish the trading day at 7,435.

Markets in Japan were closed on Friday for a holiday. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan climbed 2.58%.

"I think it's overall quite a constructive ... sea of positive green performance today on the back of reasonably pretty strong set of corporate earnings season coming out from the U.S. market," Audrey Goh, senior investment strategist at Standard Chartered, told CNBC's "Street Signs Asia" on Friday.

Looking ahead, Goh pointed to an upcoming meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee stateside where investors will watch for clues on the interest rate outlook.

"Overall, going into the weekend we're probably a tad more cautious in terms of how the Fed may signal some of its rate hike trajectory going forward," she said.

Apple supplier stocks in the region were also monitored by investors after the tech giant warned of a potential $8 billion hit from supply constraints.

Shares of South Korea's LG Display gained 2.13% on Friday. AAC Technologies saw its stock in Hong Kong surge 8.06%. Over in Taiwan, shares of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company advanced 1.32%.

Other major indexes stateside also saw gains overnight, with the S&P 500 rising 2.47% to 4,287.50. The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 614.46 points, or 1.85%, to 33,916.39.

The gains on Wall Street came despite data showing U.S. gross domestic product declining at a 1.4% pace in the first quarter, far off analyst expectations of a 1% gain.

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 102.955 after seeing an earlier high of 103.665.

The Japanese yen traded at 129.91 per dollar, stronger after an earlier low of 130.95 against the greenback. The Australian dollar was at $0.7157, still off levels above $0.72 seen earlier this week.

Oil prices were higher in the afternoon of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures rising 1.39% to $109.09 per barrel. U.S. crude futures climbed 1.05% to $106.47 per barrel.

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