Asia shares rose, gains capped by China worries

SINGAPORE, July 20 (Reuters) – Asian shares rose on Thursday as investors took in corporate earnings ahead of central bank meetings next week, while disappointing earnings results from Netflix and Tesla sent U.S. futures lower.

Gains in Asian stocks were capped by weaker China shares as the government’s pledge to support the private economy failed to woo investors and technology shares ( .MIAPJIT00NUS ) slid, dragging down the broader market.

Meanwhile, China’s yuan rose after authorities overhauled cross-border financing rules and major state-owned banks were seen selling dollars in moves analysts said were designed to boost the currency.

Eurostoxx 50 futures fell 0.16%, German DAX futures fell 0.11% and FTSE futures fell 0.13%, as futures indicated European stock markets were set for a lower open.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan ( .MIAPJ0000PUS ) was 0.23% higher, almost certainly snapping its three-day losing streak. Japan’s Nikkei (.N225) fell 1.1%.

Sterling was last at $1.2944, up 0.05% on the day, after falling 0.7% on Wednesday after data showed UK inflation cooling, as markets pared back expectations of more aggressive rate hikes by the Bank of England.

“It’s unclear whether the BoE is finally gaining traction with rate hikes, although markets certainly took that as a sign of a broad-based decline in inflation,” said Tabas Strickland, head of market economics at National Australia Bank in Sydney.

Strickland cautioned that higher wage growth remains a concern for policymakers, which could keep underlying inflationary pressures high.

The Bank of England meets in the first week of August but ahead of that central bank meetings in Japan, Europe and the US will draw investors’ attention.

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Traders and analysts expect the European Central Bank to raise its benchmark rate by 25 basis points next week, but what comes after that is debatable following the recent dovish tone taken by the central bank’s policymakers.

Bank of Japan Governor Kazuo Uede said this week that the central bank’s 2% inflation target is still some way away from being stable and sustainable, dampening speculation of a hawkish policy shift next week.

Markets seem more certain about the Federal Reserve’s next steps, with traders expecting a 25 basis point hike but not much later.

China’s stocks have been under pressure as softer economic data weighed on sentiment in recent weeks, with investors waiting for meaningful stimulus to kick-start the country’s faltering post-pandemic recovery.

Dalip Singh, chief global economist at PGIM Fixed Income, said China’s current recovery is unlike any other, relying on consumer-led growth following years of debt-fuelled investment in property and infrastructure.

“However, consumers already seem to be losing momentum. And there is no evidence so far that the property decline has bottomed out…we expect fiscal stimulus to focus on local governments.”

On Thursday, the Shanghai Composite Index (.SSEC) fell 0.33%, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index (.HSI) rose 0.26%.

In Taiwan, the world’s biggest chipmaker TSMC ( 2330.TW ) posted a 23.3% drop in second-quarter net profit as global economic woes dampened demand.

US futures fell in Asian trade, with E-mini futures for the S&P 500 down 0.15% and Nasdaq futures down 0.44% after earnings from streaming giant Netflix and EV maker Tesla.

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Netflix ( NFLX.O ) disappointed Wall Street on Wednesday, falling short of analyst estimates, while Tesla ( TSLA.O ) reported quarterly vehicle totals in line with Wall Street estimates.

In the currency market, after the central bank eased cross-border financing rules, it made it easier for domestic companies to raise funds from overseas markets and eased depreciation pressure on the yuan currency.

The Australian dollar rose 0.86% to $0.683 after strong domestic jobs data.

In commodities, Chicago wheat futures rose 1.4% to hit a three-week high on growing expectations that an attack on Ukrainian ports after Russia pulled out of a Black Sea export deal would have a longer-term impact on global supplies.

Report by Ankur Banerjee in Singapore; Editing by Sam Holmes

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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