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Hong Kong's Hang Seng Lead Gains in Asia; Alibaba Rises More Than 4% Ahead of Earnings

Zhang Wei | China News Service via Getty Images
  • Asia-Pacific shares traded higher on Thursday as investors move on from the tensions over U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's controversial visit to Taiwan.
  • Pelosi met with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen on Wednesday amid warnings from Beijing.
  • Shares of Alibaba popped around 5% ahead of its earnings results later Thursday.

SINGAPORE — Asia-Pacific shares traded higher on Thursday following the rally on Wall Street and as investors move on from the tensions over U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's controversial visit to Taiwan.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index jumped more 2% earlier in the session and was up 1.76% in the final hour of trade.

The Hang Seng Tech index rose 2.82%, with shares of Alibaba popping more than 4% ahead of its earnings results later Thursday.

The Chinese e-commerce giant could see revenue decline for the first time on record, according to analysts' average forecast on Refinitiv. But that could be the floor for Alibaba as revenue is expected to improve going forward.

Meituan shares also rose around 3.44%, while JD.com gained 5.15%.

Pelosi met with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen on Wednesday amid warnings from Beijing. Pelosi has since left the self-ruled island that China views as a runaway province to continue with her Asia tour.

Mainland China markets fell for two straight sessions, but rose slightly on Thursday. The Shanghai Composite added 0.8% to 3,189.04 and the Shenzhen Component climbed 0.69% higher to close at 12,065.22.

"Historically, markets tend to move on quite quickly from events such as these, and you can see that today the markets have already started to rebound quite strongly," Vey-Sern Ling, a managing director at UBP, told CNBC's "Street Signs Asia" on Thursday.

Despite geopolitical risks, delisting concerns in the U.S. and potential Covid flare ups, there are many catalysts in the China market, Ling said. He pointed to well-controlled inflation and possible consumption recovery as examples.

Elsewhere in Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 0.69% to 27,932.2, while the Topix index was about flat at 1,930.73.

Toyota shares dropped 2.99% after reporting a fall in operating profit for the April-to-June quarter.

The Kospi in South Korea gained 0.47% to 2,473.11 and the Kosdaq advanced 1.2% to 825.16.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 was fractionally lower at 6,974.9.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside of China was 0.52% higher.

DBS, Singapore's largest bank, reported a net profit of 1.82 billion Singapore dollars ($1.32 billion), the second highest in history, the bank said in a press release. That's higher than the average forecast of 1.7 billion Singapore dollars, according to data from Refinitiv.

The bank's shares were about flat in late afternoon trade, while the wider index was advanced 0.4%.

A Reuters report citing a single source said the world's largest battery maker, CATL, will continue working toward delivering lower-cost lithium iron batteries to Ford Motor. CATL will also produce batteries in North America by 2026, the Wednesday report said.

Bloomberg News reported on Tuesday that CATL was delaying its decision on a North America plant.

CATL shares slipped 0.62% on Thursday.

Overnight in the U.S., the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 each gained more than 1%, while the Nasdaq Composite rose 2.59%, pulled higher by tech stocks.

A better-than-expected services PMI reading for July gave investors confidence amid concerns about a U.S. recession.

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 106.437, higher than earlier this week.

The Japanese yen traded at 133.18 per dollar, weaker than levels seen earlier this week. Volatility in the yen has been high in light of moves in U.S. yields and Fed expectations, said Max Lin, Asia FX and rates strategist at Credit Suisse.

"We continue to expect a very wide trading range between 130 to 140 [against the dollar]. That 140 level will probably be pretty difficult to break in the short term, but we still like the yen to weaken towards that level," he told CNBC's "Street Signs Asia" on Thursday.

The Australian dollar was at $0.6964.

Oil futures inched up on Thursday after Brent settled 3.7% lower and U.S. crude fell 4% on Wednesday following U.S. data that showed crude and gasoline stockpiles rose unexpectedly.

U.S. crude rose 0.44% to $91.06 per barrel, while Brent crude gained 0.36% to $97.13 per barrel.

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