China stocks halt plunge, Asia wary but advances

Saturday, 30 May 2015 01:06 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


Asian shares rose on Friday as Chinese shares edged back from the previous day’s dizzying plunge, though regional investors remained fearful that the world’s best performing equity market was at the beginning of a major correction.

Spreadbetters expected Britain’s FTSE, Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC to open higher, albeit modestly in light of persisting Greek debt woes.

Buoyed by China, Australia and South Korea, the MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan climbed 0.5%, but looked set to slip 1.5% on the week. It has gained nearly 7% so far this year.

Japan’s Nikkei inched up to a 15-year high and was on track for an 11-day winning streak and a fifth straight month of gains amid hopes for better shareholder returns. 

After swinging wildly in and out of the red, the Shanghai Composite Index was last up 0.5%.

It dove nearly 7% on Thursday, when investors dumped stocks after more brokers tightened margin trading requirements and the central bank drained money to reduce flush liquidity in the financial system. The index still stands on top of an eye-watering 43% gain so far this year.

“The correction is not yet over,” said David Dai, Shanghai-based investment director at Nanhai Fund Management Co Ltd.

“Yesterday’s slump was too rapid; so many investors didn’t have time to flee. Many are still seeking an exit. The market has risen too much, and too fast, so the confluence of bad news is causing panic selling.”

Other commentators pointed to the strains of shares soaring despite a slowing economy.

“With valuations divorced from economic fundamentals, the heightened volatility we have seen is likely to continue,” economists at Capital Economics wrote.

Investors took a cautiously positive view on the euro as Greek debt talks grind on. The single currency was up 0.1% at $ 1.0957 after pulling away from a one-month low of $ 1.0819.

Greece’s government intends to reach an agreement with its lenders on a cash-for-reforms deal by Sunday, its spokesman said on Thursday, brushing off comments from euro zone officials suggesting a deal was far from imminent.

The dollar retreated against the yen, fetching 123.73 yen JPY= after scaling 124.46 overnight, its highest since 2002. The greenback was knocked off the peak as Japanese government officials used stronger language to describe recent moves, with Finance Minister Taro Aso saying the yen’s recent drop had been ‘rough’.

The dollar index was little changed at 96.912, pulling back from a one-month high of 97.775 struck on Wednesday.

In commodities crude oil extended gains after rebounding overnight thanks to data showing a fourth weekly drawdown in US crude stocks.

US crude CLc1 was up 63 cents at $ 58.31 a barrel and Brent LCOc1 gained 54 cents to $ 63.12.