Asian Stock Markets Surge as Investors React to Korean Peace Move

April 30, 2018

By Investors Hub

Asian stocks closed broadly higher on the last trading day of the month as tensions on the Korean Peninsula faded and investors digested a slew of earnings releases and economic reports.

The dollar held below three-month highs amid a pullback in Treasury yields and ahead of the Fed’s policy decision and a jobs report due this week, while oil prices slipped as investors waited for signs on whether the U.S. would re-impose sanctions on Iran. Trading volumes remained thin across Asia amid holidays in China and Japan.

Investors shrugged off official data from China showing that the country’s manufacturing sector grew at a slower pace in April. The official manufacturing PMI fell slightly to 51.4 in April from 51.5 in March. However, the non-manufacturing PMI that covers services and construction, improved to 54.8 from 54.6 a month ago.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index jumped 527.78 points or 1.7 percent to 30,808.45 after the leaders of North and South Korea vowed “complete denuclearization” and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the U.S. has an “obligation” to pursue a diplomatic solution with North Korea.

Australian shares rose as financials and property developers gained ground, offsetting losses in the mining sector on weaker commodity prices.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 29.10 points or 0.5 percent to 5,982.70, while the broader All Ordinaries Index ended up 28.70 points or 0.5 percent at 6,071.60.

Wealth manager AMP rose half a percent following recent heavy losses after its chairwoman resigned amid a widening scandal. ANZ, NAB and Westpac rose between 0.8 percent and 1.3 percent ahead of the Reserve Bank of Australia’s monetary policy decision on Tuesday.

Realty firm Stockland Corporation rallied 3.2 percent after reaffirming its fiscal year 2017 guidance. Goodman Group Pty advanced 1.2 percent.

Power producer AGL Energy added 1.3 percent after it received a non-binding, highly conditional $250 million offer to acquire the Liddell coal-fired power station.

Miners BHP Billiton and South 32 dropped half a percent and 0.3 percent, respectively, while BlueScope Steel fell over 2 percent to register its biggest intraday percentage loss in nearly four weeks.

Seoul stocks rallied to close near three-month highs after Friday’s summit between the leaders of the two Koreas concluded. The benchmark Kospi climbed 22.98 points or 0.9 percent to finish at 2,515.38, the highest closing level since February 2nd.

South Korean industrial production fell 4.3 percent year-over-year in March, slower than the 6.8 percent decline in February, preliminary data showed. Economists had expected a 1.6 percent drop for the month.

Modupe Gbadeyanka

Modupe Gbadeyanka is a fast-rising journalist with Business Post Nigeria. Her passion for journalism is amazing. She is willing to learn more with a view to becoming one of the best pen-pushers in Nigeria. Her role models are the duo of CNN's Richard Quest and Christiane Amanpour.

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