Asia Stocks Poised to Extend End-of-Quarter Rally: Markets Wrap

Stocks in Asia were set to rise after US technology shares drove gains on Wall Street, despite pressure on financials after Federal Reserve officials reiterated their resolve to lower inflation.

(Bloomberg) — Stocks in Asia were set to rise after US technology shares drove gains on Wall Street, despite pressure on financials after Federal Reserve officials reiterated their resolve to lower inflation.

Equity futures for benchmarks in Australia, Japan and Hong Kong advanced, setting them on a course to notch second consecutive quarterly gains. The S&P 500 climbed 0.6% Thursday while the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 rose 0.9%, pushing further into a bull market. Treasuries were little changed, the dollar was weaker against major peers and oil rose to a two-week high. 

The gains on Wall Street came as market watchers digested a round of Fed commentary suggesting more monetary tightening was necessary, even after the collapse of three US banks earlier this month. Boston Fed President Susan Collins said tightening was needed. Richmond Fed President Thomas Barkin said the Fed can raise rates more if inflation risks persist. And Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari said he’s committed to getting inflation back to 2% and that it’s not yet fully clear what impact the financial-system turmoil will have.

Positive signals out of China are helping the Bloomberg Commodity Index pare its quarterly loss, with oil recovering half of the ground it lost since early March. Most market watchers are still betting on China’s recovery underpinning a price rally later this year, and two of the nation’s oil majors said a rebounding domestic economy can help cushion the impact of slower global growth.

That optimism is also apparent in Chinese equities. Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s logistics arm Cainiao Network Technology Co. — currently valued at more than $20 billion — has started preparations with banks for its Hong Kong initial public offering. Meanwhile, shares in rival soared in the US after two of its subsidiaries filed for IPOs in Hong Kong. 

Friday’s trading may be choppy amid quarter-end rebalancing from pension funds and options hedging activity but the outlook is bullish for US stocks in April, according to Scott Rubner, a Goldman Sachs Group Inc. managing director. 

Investors expect US rates to sit around 4.3% by the end of the year, around 70 basis points lower than the current level. However, several strategists have said markets are wrong to expect rate cuts this year.

The labor market remains robust, though US unemployment claims ticked up for the first time in three weeks. And high inflation — as measured by the so-called PCE Core Deflator due Friday — is expected to have persisted last month.

“With cracks in the banking system becoming apparent, the Fed’s job has become even harder,” said Jim Baird, chief investment officer at Plante Moran Financial Advisors. “Recession risk remains in focus given the Fed’s historical track record of struggling to tighten policy while easing the economy to a soft landing.”

Key events this week:

  • China PMI, Friday
  • Eurozone CPI, unemployment, Friday
  • US consumer income, PCE deflator, University of Michigan consumer sentiment, Friday
  • ECB President Christine Lagarde speaks, Friday
  • New York Fed President John Williams speaks, Friday

Some of the main moves in markets:


  • S&P 500 futures were little changed as of 7:16 a.m. Tokyo time. The S&P 500 rose 0.6%
  • Nasdaq 100 futures were little changed. The Nasdaq 100 rose 0.9%
  • Hang Seng futures rose 1%
  • S&P/ASX 200 futures rose 0.5%
  • Nikkei 225 futures rose 0.5%


  • The euro was little changed at $1.0903
  • The Japanese yen was little changed at 132.64 per dollar
  • The offshore yuan was little changed at 6.8747 per dollar
  • The Australian dollar was little changed at $0.6710


  • Bitcoin fell 0.1% to $28,119.4
  • Ether was little changed at $1,794.55


  • The yield on 10-year Treasuries declined two basis points to 3.55%
  • Australia’s 10-year yield declined five basis points to 3.31%


  • West Texas Intermediate crude was little changed

This story was produced with the assistance of Bloomberg Automation.

–With assistance from Isabelle Lee and Carly Wanna.

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