Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index soars 7% as Asian stocks jump

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SINGAPORE – Shares in Asia-Pacific rose in Thursday trade as the Chinese markets continue to extend gains from a rebound, while the US Federal Reserve announced its first rate hike in more than three years.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index led gains among the region’s major markets, surging 7.04% to close at 21,501.23 and erasing heavy losses from earlier in the week. On Wednesday, the benchmark index saw its best day since October 2008 as it rocketed 9%.

The Hang Seng Tech index soared 7.76% to 4,572.79, with Tencent up 6.27%, Alibaba jumping 12.46% and JD.com surging 15.85%.

Mainland Chinese stocks finished trading day higher, with the Shanghai composite up 1.4% to 3,215.04 while the Shenzhen component gained 2,408% to 12,289.97.

On Wednesday, China markets bounced after a Chinese state media report signaled support for Chinese stocks. US-listed Chinese stocks followed suit. The report said Regulators from both countries are working toward a cooperation plan on US-listed Chinese stocks.

It also said authorities would work toward stability in the struggling real estate sector. China’s Ministry of Finance also announced there were no plans to expand a test of property tax this year.

Chinese real estate stocks in Hong Kong soared on Thursday, with Country Garden up 28.41%, Sunac rocketing 59.03% and China Evergrande Group popping 17.83%. The Hang Seng Properties index climbed 9.46% to 29,555.58.

Other Asia-Pacific markets also jumped on Thursday. The Nikkei 225 in Japan closed at 3.46% higher at 26,652.89 while the Topix index climbed 2.47% to 1,899.01.

South Korea’s Kospi finished the trading day 1.33% higher at 2,694.51. Over in Australia, the S & P / ASX 200 advanced 1.05% to close at 7,250.80.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan jumped 3.98%.

Oil prices were higher in the afternoon of Asia trading hours, with the international benchmark Brent crude futures up 3.78% to $ 101.73 per barrel. US crude futures climbed 3.52% to $ 98.39 per barrel.

Fed rate hike

The US Federal Reserve on Wednesday approved a 0.25 percentage point rate hike, the first increase since December 2018.

Officials at the US central bank also signaled an aggressive path ahead, with rate rises coming at the six remaining meetings this year.

“Given our stagflationary baseline which got exacerbated by the Russia / Ukraine war, it appears that the Fed’s focus will weigh more on inflation fighting despite the uncertainty created by the situation in Ukraine based on yesterday’s meeting,” Salman Ahmed, global head of macro and strategic asset allocation at Fidelity International, wrote in a Thursday note.

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Overnight on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 518.76 points, or 1.55%, to 34,063.10 while the S&P 500 advanced 2.24% to 4,357.86. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite surged 3.77% to 13,436.55.

Currencies

The US dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 98,286 after a recent fall from around the 99 level.

The Japanese Yen traded at 118.71 per dollar, weaker than levels below 118 seen against the greenback earlier this week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $ 0.7327, extending gains after yesterday’s jump from below $ 0.72.

– CNBC’s Jeff Cox and Evelyn Cheng contributed to this report.

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