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Asian shares hit a one-week high

written by Bella Palmer

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was 0.6% higher, the Nikkei slipped 0.1%

Asian shares rose to a one-week high as policy support put a floor under the battered Chinese stock market, while bonds were under pressure ahead of a ECB meeting later in the day.

The Shanghai Composite gained 2% and was headed for its largest daily gain in six months. The blue-chip index added more than 1% and the Hang Seng jumped for a third consecutive session to take it 9% above Monday's 15-month low.

All three indexes remain down for the year on investors' frustration at the lack of large-scale response from Beijing to China's economic downturn, though Wednesday's cut to bank reserve requirements has again raised expectations of official help.

Ultimately what is going to get fundamentals back on track is meaningful improvement in confidence and sentiment, said David Chao, global market strategist, Asia Pacific at Invesco.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was 0.6% higher, while markets in Japan and India that have benefited from global investors' flight from China traded off recent peaks. The Nikkei slipped 0.1%.

In currency markets, the dollar has jumped from its lows after a survey showed U.S. business activity rising in January.

The Canadian dollar nursed losses after the BoC held rates but dropped language saying it was prepared for further rate hikes.

S&P 500 futures were flat in Asia, as were Nasdaq 100 futures. A 6% decline in Tesla shares after the bell following earnings that missed expectations was offset by steep gains for IBM after an upbeat revenue forecast.

South Korea beat expectations for growth in the fourth quarter of 2023, though the Kospi slipped and the won was stable. Traders sold shares in chipmaker SK Hynix despite it turning a surprise quarterly profit.


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