Asia stocks, US equity futures rise as sentiment improves

US equity

Shares rose in Japan, Hong Kong and China, shrugging off modest losses on Wall Street Thursday

Stocks and US equity futures pushed higher Friday as sentiment received a boost from a move by Chinese banks to lower a key interest rate for long-term loans by a record amount.

Shares rose in Japan, Hong Kong and China, shrugging off modest losses on Wall Street Thursday. European contracts gained about 1%.

Chinese banks cut the five-year loan prime rate, which will help to reduce mortgage costs and may boost loan demand amid a property slump and Covid lockdowns.

That step overshadowed less positive developments in Shanghai, which found three Covid cases outside quarantine, raising questions over whether plans to loosen curbs there will be impacted.

Sovereign bonds dipped, with the US 10-year Treasury yield advancing to about 2.86%. A dollar gauge trimmed its biggest one-day drop since 2020. Oil hovered near $112 a barrel, heading for a weekly gain on optimism about demand.

Rebounds in risk sentiment have tended to fizzle this year. Investors continue to grapple with concerns about an economic downturn, in part as the Federal Reserve hikes interest rates to quell price pressures. Global shares are on course for an historic seventh week of declines.

Kansas City Fed President Esther George acknowledged equities were having a ‘rough’ patch but did nothing to soften the US central bank’s hawkish tone.

Inflationary pressures look very much persistent at the moment, Lale Akoner, senior market strategist at BNY Mellon Investment Management, said on Bloomberg Television. The biggest risk right now is developed-market central banks might trigger a recession. We are increasingly suspecting that they made a policy mistake.

US data included weaker-than-forecast US jobless claims and a downbeat regional Philadelphia Fed business-outlook survey.

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