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Hong Kong Leads Gains in Asia, Rising 3% as Alibaba Shares Pop 11%

Katherine Cheng | SOPA Images | LightRocket via Getty Images
  • Asia-Pacific stocks were mostly higher on Tuesday.
  • By the Tuesday market close in Hong Kong, shares of Alibaba listed in the city were up 11.2%.
  • Hong Kong's broader Hang Seng index led gains among the region's major markets as it climbed 3.15% to 21,889.28.

SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia-Pacific were mostly higher on Tuesday, as Hong Kong-listed shares of Alibaba soared after the firm announced an upsizing of its share repurchase program from $15 billion to $25 billion.

By the Tuesday market close in Hong Kong, shares of Alibaba listed in the city were up 11.2%. Hong Kong's broader Hang Seng index led gains among the region's major markets as it climbed 3.15% to 21,889.28.

Meanwhile, shares of China Eastern Airlines in Hong Kong dropped 2.55% after the carrier's Boeing 737 passenger jet crashed in southern China on Monday.

The Nikkei 225 in Japan jumped 1.48% to close at 27,224.11 while the Topix index climbed 1.28% to 1,933.74.

Mainland Chinese stocks closed mixed, as the Shanghai composite edged 0.19% higher to 3,259.86 while the Shenzhen component dipped 0.492% to 12,318.78.

South Korea's Kospi advanced 0.89% on the day to 2,710. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.86%, closing at 7,341.10.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan gained 1.16%.

Fed watch

Investors also watched for market reaction to comments by U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell vowing tough action on inflation.

Fed Chair Powell said Monday that inflation is "much too high," with the central bank set to "take the necessary steps to ensure a return to price stability."

"In particular, if we conclude that it is appropriate to move more aggressively by raising the federal funds rate by more than 25 basis points at a meeting or meetings, we will do so," Powell said.

Those comments came less than a week after the central bank raised interest rates for the first time in more than three years.

Powell's messaging "could not be clearer," according to National Australia Bank's Ray Attrill.

"The US Fed Funds futures now has 42bps of tightening priced for May up from 3.5bps at Friday's close, and 80bps over the combined May-June meetings, so now flirting with the notion of back-to-back 50 point increases," Attrill said.

Shares on Wall Street dipped overnight, with the S&P 500 fractionally lower at 4,461.18 while the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 201.94 points to 34,552.99. The Nasdaq Composite shed 0.4% to 13,838.46.

Oil prices turn negative

Oil prices erased earlier gains and traded lower during the afternoon of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures slipping 0.19% to $115.40 per barrel. U.S. crude futures slipped 1% to $111 per barrel.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 98.762 — still above levels below 98 seen last week.

The Japanese yen traded at 120.43 per dollar, weaker than levels below 118.3 seen against the greenback last week. The Australian dollar was at $0.7401, largely holding on to gains following its rise from below $0.72 last week.

— Correction: This report has been updated to reflect the correct name of China Eastern Airlines.

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