Asia Stocks Climb, Led by Hong Kong Market; China’s Factory Activity Hits 11-Year High

Most Asian stock markets rose on Wednesday as investors reacted favorably to a spate of major economic reports from across the region. China’s official manufacturing purchasing managers’ index hit 52.6 in February, the highest level since April 2012. 

As of 9.38 A.M. (Thai time), Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 2.46% – leading gains in the region and the Hang Seng Tech index climbed 3.74%. In mainland China, the Shanghai Composite climbed 0.65%.

S&P/ASX 200 in Australia traded marginally higher after the country’s GDP for the fourth quarter of 2022 came in at 0.5%, representing the fifth consecutive quarter of growth.

Nikkei 225 started slightly down in Japan as private surveys from the Jibun Bank revealed factory activity in February dropped by the sharpest pace in two and a half years.

South Korean markets are closed for a holiday, despite the country’s trade deficit narrowing in February.

U.S. markets fell across the board last night, capping a rough month, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average losing the most ground (nearly 230 points, or 0.7%) of the three major averages. Although both the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite lost ground in February (approximately 2.61% and 1.11%, respectively), they are both up so far this year.