Asian Shares Broadly Higher On Earnings Optimism

Asian stocks rose broadly on Tuesday, with earnings optimism and hopes for a faster global economic recovery helping underpin sentiment. Investors were also relieved by Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s comments that a rate hike within this year is unlikely.

Chinese shares fell as worries about further liquidity tightening overshadowed buoyant trade data. The benchmark Shanghai Composite index dropped 16.48 points, or 0.48 percent, to 3,396.47 while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index ended up 0.15 percent at 28,497.25.

China’s exports logged a double-digit growth in March but at a slower than expected pace, while imports growth exceeded expectations amid rising commodity prices, data from the customs office revealed earlier today.

Exports increased 30.6 percent year-on-year in March, slower than the forecast of 35.5 percent. The pace of expansion also eased sharply from 60.6 percent seen in January to February period largely due to lower base for comparison.

Meanwhile, imports advanced 38.1 percent annually, much faster than the expected growth of 23.3 percent. Consequently, the trade surplus fell to $13.8 billion and well below economists’ expectations of $52.05 billion.

Japanese shares gained ground as investors cheered strong earnings updates from glass product companies and department store operators. The Nikkei average rose 212.88 points, or 0.72 percent, to 29,751.61, while the broader Topix index ended 0.20 percent higher at 1,958.55.

Glassmaker AGC rallied 2.9 percent after revising up its earnings outlook and dividend forecasts. Rival Nippon Sheet Glass jumped 6.8 percent.

Department store company Takashimaya climbed 4.3 percent after it posted a larger-than-expected profit in the current financial year. J.Front Retailing rallied 4 percent and Isetan Mitsukoshi advanced 1.7 percent.

Australian markets gave up early gains to end on a flat note, with miners and energy stocks underperforming. Mining heavyweights BHP and Rio Tinto fell over 1 percent, while energy major Origin Energy dropped 1.5 percent and Oil Search shed 1.2 percent.

Buy-now-pay-later firm Zip Co jumped 17 percent after its U.S. arm Quadpay achieved record third quarter results. Codan climbed 2.3 percent, Xero advanced 1.4 percent, Afterpay jumped 3.1 percent and Appen rose 0.9 percent.

Seoul stocks ended higher for the second day running on hopes of earnings recovery. The Kospi average inched up 33.49 points, or 1.07 percent, to finish at 3,169.08 as brokerages projected strong quarterly performances of local big-name companies.

Market heavyweight Samsung Electronics gained 1 percent, No. 2 chipmaker SK Hynix added 1.5 percent and leading carmaker Hyundai Motor advanced 1.8 percent. Chemical maker LG Chem surged as much as 6.2 percent.

New Zealand shares rose sharply after a government report showed retail electronic card spending in the country rebounded in March.

The benchmark NZX-50 index rallied 137.71 points, or 1.10 percent, to 12,656.42 ahead of the RBNZ monetary policy meeting on Wednesday, with economists expecting the central bank to leave interest rates unchanged.

U.S. stocks fell overnight as investors waited for cues from bond sales, earnings and crucial economic data due out this week.

The Dow edged down 0.2 percent, the S&P 500 finished marginally lower and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite shed 0.4 percent.

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