Asian markets rally after tech-fuelled Wall St surge

Asian markets rally after tech-fuelled Wall St surge

Markets bounced back after initially sinking in reaction to the Federal Reserve's warning that interest rates will not likely be cut in March
Markets bounced back after initially sinking in reaction to the Federal Reserve's warning that interest rates will not likely be cut in March. Photo: MOHD RASFAN / AFP
Source: AFP

Asian markets rallied Friday, tracking a surge on Wall Street fuelled by bargain-buying from the previous day's sell-off, while strong earnings from tech titans soothed worries about the impact of higher interest rates on bottom lines.

Disappointment over the Federal Reserve's warning this week that borrowing costs would not likely be cut in March was tempered by the knowledge they are all but certain to come down this year.

Data indicating a softening US labour market -- jobless claims rose and private-sector jobs creation came in below forecasts -- added to the optimism that the central bank will move several times before 2025.

"Traders are not letting go of the possibility of an earlier-than-expected rate cut," said Fawad Razaqzada of City Index and Forex.com.

"Those expectations could rise further if incoming US data from now on takes a bearish turn."

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All eyes are now on the release later Friday of the crucial non-farm payrolls report, particularly after Fed boss Jerome Powell suggested decision-makers could be swayed by a particularly big miss on key indicators.

"It could be Frantic Friday on any NFP beats or misses but an extremely bullish one if the jobs report shows a jump higher in the unemployment rate that justifies a March cut," said SPI Asset Management's Stephen Innes.

While most market-watchers have slashed their bets on a reduction next month, Bloomberg News said around 150 basis points of easing this year has still been priced into markets, with the first move fully priced in for May.

All three main indexes on Wall Street jumped at least one percent and are expected to build on that later in the day, as Facebook parent Meta soared more than 10 percent in after-hours trading in reaction to strong earnings and the announcement of its first quarterly dividend.

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Amazon also rocketed post-close on the back of a healthy corporate report.

The readings showed that companies were still able to thrive despite worries about the higher cost of borrowing.

And Asia picked up the baton, with Hong Kong among the best performers, having had a tough start to the year owing to worries over China's economy and the crisis at developer Evergrande.

Tencent was the standout performer on the Hang Seng Index, piling on more than four percent after Chinese authorities finally gave the green light to a long-anticipated game -- Mobile DnF -- that had been caught up in regulatory limbo for years.

There were also gains in Tokyo, where game developer Nexon, which jointly created Mobile DnF, rocketed more than 20 percent.

Shanghai, Sydney, Seoul, Singapore, Taipei, Wellington, Manila and Jakarta also advanced.

Key figures around 0230 GMT

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 1.0 percent at 36,370.68 (break)

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Most Asian markets retreat as Fed crushes March rate cut hope

Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: UP 2.0 percent at 15,873.24

Shanghai - Composite: UP 0.4 percent at 2,780.68

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 146.37 yen from 146.42 yen on Thursday

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2748 from $1.2746

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.0873 from $1.0874

Euro/pound: UP at 85.30 pence from 85.29 pence

West Texas Intermediate: UP 0.7 percent at $74.34 per barrel

Brent North Sea Crude: UP 0.8 percent at $79.31 per barrel

New York - Dow: UP 1.0 percent at 38,519.84 (close)

London - FTSE 100: DOWN 0.1 percent at 7,622.16 (close)

Source: AFP

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