Asian Shares Mostly Higher Ahead Of FOMC Meeting Minutes

stockmarkets aug17 23nov22 lt

Asian stocks ended mostly higher on Wednesday despite lingering worries about the Chinese economy and ahead the release of latest Fed meeting minutes later in the day.

Regional gains were capped by rising COVID-19 infections in China and a record interest rate hike by New Zealand. Trading volumes were somewhat thin amid a holiday in Japan.

China's Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.3 percent to 3,096.91 even as COVID cases in the country surged toward record highs. China is locking down parts of Beijing and other cities as infections looked set to pass April's peak.

In its Economic Outlook released Tuesday, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) warned of a significant growth slowdown for the world economy in 2023. However, the OECD is not predicting a recession, thanks to Asia's biggest economies China and India.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index gained 0.6 percent to settle at 17,523.81 after five sessions of losses. BYD shares fell over 2 percent after Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway further trimmed its stake in the electric vehicle maker.

Seoul stocks advanced ahead of the release of the November FOMC meeting minutes. The Kospi closed 0.5 percent higher at 2,418.01. Internet firm Kakao surged 2.6 percent on news that Saudi Arabia might invest in the group's entertainment unit.

Australian markets rose notably to hit a five-month high as a spike in commodity prices helped lift heavyweight mining, energy and gold stocks. Tech stocks underperformed, with WiseTech Global losing 6.7 percent.

Qantas Airways soared 5.3 percent after the nation's flag carrier boosted its pre-tax profit guidance for the first half of fiscal 2023 amid the ongoing recovery in travel markets.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index climbed 0.7 percent to 7,231.80, while the broader All Ordinaries Index ended 0.6 percent higher at 7,422.40.

Across the Tasman, New Zealand shares fell after a record interest rate hike. The benchmark S&P NZX-50 Index dropped 0.9 percent to 11,323.80 as the Reserve Bank delivered its biggest ever interest rate hike at 75 basis points and warned of an economic slowdown.

U.S stocks rallied overnight, as upbeat earnings from the likes of Best Buy and Abercrombie & Fitch lifted retailers ahead of the holiday shopping season.

The S&P 500 climbed 1.4 percent to close above 4,000 for the first time since September and the Dow added 1.2 percent to reach a three-month closing high, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite surged 1.4 percent.

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