•   Monday, 11 Dec, 2023
Asian shares gain on upbeat news on China property sector

Asian shares gain on upbeat news on China property sector

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lators urged banks to support property projects to support the housing market.

U.S. futures advanced and oil prices jumped more than $2 a barrel. Markets in Japan were closed for a holiday.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index surged 2.4% to 20,777.45 after Chinese media reported that some stalled real estate projects had resumed construction after buyers threatened to stop their mortgage payments. The Shanghai Composite index added 1.6% to 3,278.10.

The China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission ordered banks and insurers to guarantee the handover of apartments contracted for construction.

Troubled developer China Evergrande Group' s Hong Kong traded shares jumped 8.6%. Guangzhou R&F Properties soared 9% and Country Garden Holdings Co. gained 5.1%.

In Seoul, the Kospi jumped 1.9% to 2,375.25. Australia'sS&P/ASX 500 added 1.2% to 6,687.10.

New Zealand shares edged higher even after the government reported that inflation hit a 32-year high of 7.3% in the April-June quarter. It was 6.9% in the previous quarter.

On Sunday, the New Zealand government announced it would extend until January a program to cut gas taxes and public transport costs.

“We recognize this is a tough time for New Zealanders and the rise in the cost of living is making it hard for many," said Finance Minister Grant Robertson.

Investors are awaiting a decision by the European Central Bank on Thursday on whether to raise interest rates for the first time in 11 years to curb inflation.

Europe is feeling the pain from Russia’s war in Ukraine. Mounting pressure from high energy prices is driving record inflation and raising the likelihood of a plunge back into recession even as prices push perilously higher.

“Europe is a classic example of the perils of easy monetary policy," Jeffrey Halley of Oanda said in a commentary, adding that “it’s easy to take it out of the box, but as you get the financial system addicted to a zero percent cost of capital, it’s hard to put it back."

Solid earnings from big companies and an encouraging report on consumer sentiment helped lift shares on Friday, but Wall Street benchmarks still ended the week lower.

A July survey from the University of Michigan showed that inflation expectations held steady or improved, along with general consumer sentiment. That was welcome news after reports that showed consumer prices remained extremely hot in June, along with wholesale prices for businesses.

The report also bodes well for investors looking for signs that the Federal Reserve might eventually ease off its aggressive policy to fight inflation.

The S&P 500 rose 1.9% to 3,863.16. snapping a five-day losing streak.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 2.1% to 31,288.26 and the Nasdaq gained 1.8% to 11,452.42. Smaller company stocks outpaced the broader market, sending the Russell 2000 index 2.2% higher, to 1,744.37.

Inflation and its impact on businesses and consumers remain a key focus for Wall Street. The Federal Reserve has been raising interest rates in an effort to curtail rising inflation. The Fed has already raised rates three times this year.

In other trading, U.S. benchmark crude oil gained $2.37 to $99.96 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gained $1.81 to $97.59 per barrel on Friday.

Brent crude, the standard for international trading, jumped $2.61 to $103.77 per barrel.

The U.S. dollar slipped to 138.15 Japanese yen from 138.98 yen. The euro rose to $1.0145 from $1.0080.

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