Asian equities rise as Alibaba presents strategy for breakup
On Thursday, Asian equities increased as worries about the banking sector subsided and the potential breakup of Chinese conglomerate Alibaba offered a positive hint that Beijing’s regulatory storm targeting tech businesses may finally be dissipating.
The MSCI index of Asia-Pacific stocks ex-Japan increased for the third straight day, increasing 0.3%. For the first time since the middle of 2021, it hopes to post two straight quarters of profit.
The Nikkei in Japan fell 0.6% after rising 1.3% on Tuesday. Its quarterly growth of 6.1% is the best since March 2021. Australian stocks increased by 1%.
After the head of the US banks testified before Congress and concentrated on Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) failings and its oversight rather than more general systemic problems in the financial sector, overnight Wall Street indexes rose.
As investors reduced some of the protection bets they had built up over the previous couple of weeks, the US dollar held its ground, especially versus the safe-haven Japanese yen. To the dollar, the yen last traded at 132.75.
The beneficiaries appear to be bonds and huge tech businesses that often gain when interest rates decline, as the dust settles on a wild and tumultuous ride after SVB’s collapse sparked concerns about a broader financial crisis.
US yields are below the current Fed funds rate of about 4.8% from the two-year to the 30-year tenors because markets have sharply repriced the rate forecast.
For the quarter, two-year rates are down 30 basis points (bps), marking the first decline since March 2020.
The sensitivity to rates which is the strongest quarter for Nasdaq in more than two years is expected. S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures were stable on Thursday.
Investors in Asia continued to buy Alibaba’s Hong Kong shares as further information about the company’s intention to spin off its subsidiaries was provided during a conference call.
According to CEO Daniel Zhang, the division will turn the conglomerate into a holding company rather than an operating one. Investors are expecting that the initiatives represent the authorities’ implied support for future growth and profit.