Asian stocks traded on steady grounds on Wednesday as Chinese shares rallied on the possibility of more stimulus, although news that North Korea had rebuild a part of a missile launch site put a cap on broader increases.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan were up 0.1 percent to $526.62, while the Shanghai Composite index gained 1.5 percent to CN¥3,102.10 after China’s state planner announced the government’s plan to raise domestic consumption further this year.
The country’s benchmark stock index could add another 10 percent on the back of market positive Chinese policy announcements, according to John Woods, chief investment officer for Asia Pacific at a Swiss investment bank.
Wood’s comments came in response to Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s statement on Tuesday at the National People’s Congress (NPC), China’s top legislature.
Having the risk that is threatening a sharper slowdown in the world’s second largest economy in mind, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Tuesday had unveiled increased stimulus measures, which included CN¥2 trillion ($298 billion) worth of tax cuts and infrastructure spending.
Woods stated that they took the decisions as being market positive. They think that the focus on infrastructure clearly lends itself to those commodities and equities which are in that space and they think will perform well.
Hopes of further stimulus send mining equities up as well, lifting Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 by 0.7 percent to A$6,245.60, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng climbed 0.2 percent to HK$29,037.60.
A few of Asia’s stock markets, however, did not have the same optimism.
Japan’s Nikkei fell 0.5 percent to ¥21,609.00, while South Korea’s KOSPI shed 0.1 percent to ₩2,175.60 due to reports that North Korea had once again set up a part of a rocket test site it had promised to take apart last year.
US National Security Advisor John Bolton has warned North Korea could face additional sanctions if did not take steps to abandon its nuclear weapons program.
Tougher sanctions against the isolated country risks intensifying tensions after US President Donald Trump’s summit with North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un in Vietnam last week ended without a deal.
European Shares Decline as Auto Stocks Weaken
Elsewhere, European stock markets failed to absorb optimism in Chinese shares as disappointing data from the struggling automobiles industry weighed on the market, hitting auto stocks on Wednesday.
The STOXX 600 hovered close to five-month highs, slipping 0.05 percent to €375.46.
Gloomy results from the auto sector knocked the market down. Car shares stumbled after German bearings maker Schaeffler Group warned of an extremely challenging business environment this year and announced plans to restructure, leaving its stock with a 10.8 percent loss.
The auto sector index posted a 1.3 percent drop after shares of German carmakers Daimler AG, BMW AG, and Volkswagen declined, dragging the DAX down 0.4 percent, before easing to trade down 0.2 percent to €11,592.30.
The tech sector, on the other hand, showed more enthusiasm.
Swiss PC peripherals maker Logitech International SA rose 1.3 percent to a fourth-month high after the company forecast mid to high single-digit boost in annual sales for the next financial year ending March 2020.
UK chipmaker Dialog Semiconductor PLC also climbed 8.6 percent as traders said its headline results were in line and a slide in revenue as the firm lessens its exposure to US smartphone maker Apple Inc. had already been flagged.
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