Stock markets rally on tech bounce, earnings hope

Stock markets rally on tech bounce, earnings hope

Tech stocks rallied in Hong Kong after a report said China was to impose a fine on ride hailing giant Didi and conclude a probe into the firm
Tech stocks rallied in Hong Kong after a report said China was to impose a fine on ride hailing giant Didi and conclude a probe into the firm. Photo: STR / AFP
Source: AFP

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Equities piled higher Wednesday following a surge on Wall Street, as investors grow hopeful in the ongoing earnings season, while sentiment was also boosted by news that Russian gas flows to Europe will not be cut off.

Markets also reacted positively to a report saying China will fine ride-hailing giant Didi $1 billion but bring an end to its year-long probe, reinforcing optimism that a long-running tech crackdown is nearing an end.

After a hefty drop Monday, all three main indexes on Wall Street posted solid gains Tuesday as companies' earnings soothed concerns about the impact on their bottom lines from soaring inflation and rising interest rates.

Analysts said that with many investors having priced in a weak reporting season, above-forecast readings were giving a lift to stocks.

While several firms -- such as Apple and Johnson & Johnson -- have indicated they have concerns about the outlook, there is a feeling that the sell-off across markets could be reaching a bottom.

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And some commentators have suggested the second half could see a healthy rally.

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"Stocks have been beaten down," said Kristina Hooper, a strategist at Invesco.

"That doesn't mean we won't see more downside for some stock markets around the world, especially given that earnings expectations are likely to be adjusted downward. But I believe we are far closer to the bottom than the top."

A surge in tech giants helped the Nasdaq jump more than three percent while the Dow and S&P 500 climbed more than two percent.

And the positive vibes flowed through to Asia, where Hong Kong was among the best performers thanks to big advances in the city's tech titans, including Alibaba and Tencent.

Traders there were given a much-needed lift by a Wall Street Journal report saying Beijing is expected to hit Didi Global with the billion dollar fine before bringing the curtain down on a long-running investigation.

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The firm will then be able to restart its key apps and add customers again, while also being allowed to resume its stalled Hong Kong listing.

The report was music to the ears of investors who have been battered by a regulation clampdown on the tech industry and a range of other sectors including private education. The Hong Kong tech index rose more than two percent Tuesday.

Europe gas relief

Elsewhere, Tokyo, Shanghai, Sydney, Seoul, Singapore, Mumbai, Taipei, Bangkok, Jakarta and Wellington also rallied.

London rose as data showed UK inflation hit a new 40-year high of 9.4 percent in June, putting further pressure on the Bank of England to ramp up borrowing costs.

Paris and Frankfurt were also up.

All eyes are now on the European Central Bank's policy decision Thursday, where it is expected to announce its first rate hike in more than a decade as it looks to rein in soaring inflation.

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Officials have their work cut out for them as they must also try not to drive a stake through the eurozone economy, which has also been hammered by an energy crisis.

Talk of a half-point hike -- instead of the quarter-point lift most expect -- has lifted the euro against the dollar, having fallen to parity last week for the first time in 20 years.

The currency was also helped by a Bloomberg News article saying Russia's Gazprom would resume deliveries through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline Thursday, albeit at reduced capacity.

Moscow shut down deliveries to Germany for technical reasons last week, but there had been fears it would keep the taps off in retaliation for European sanctions over its invasion of Ukraine.

CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson said: "This is certainly welcome news if true, given that earlier in the day European Commission officials were making the assumption the pipeline would not restart."

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But he added: "They would probably be wise to continue on this basis given the predilection for Moscow to weaponise gas flows as they already have been doing."

While the mood among traders is positive, observers remained cautious.

"Recession fears certainly haven't gone away and the rebound in equities over the past week could as much reflect a recovery from oversold levels and extreme levels of pessimism," said SPI Asset Management's Stephen Innes.

Key figures at around 0720 GMT

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 2.7 percent at 27,680.26 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: UP 1.4 percent at 20,955.94

Shanghai - Composite: UP 0.8 percent at 3,304.72 (close)

London - FTSE 100: UP 0.4 percent at 7,326.68

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.0250 from $1.0226 on Monday

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2012 from $1.2002

Euro/pound: UP at 85.35 pence from 85.19 pence

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 138.19 yen from 138.21 yen

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West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 1.3 percent at $102.82 per barrel

Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 1.3 percent at $105.92 per barrel

New York - Dow: UP 2.4 percent at 31,827.05 (close)

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Source: AFP

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