Marketmind: Hong Kong whimpers, Japan roars

By Thomson Reuters Feb 8, 2024 | 11:35 PM

A look at the day ahead in European and global markets from Kevin Buckland

European traders looking to Asia for direction are going to be pulled in two directions, with Hong Kong led lower by property shares as it limped into the Lunar New Year break, while Japan powered to a new post-bubble, 34-year peak.

Hong Kong investors may at least have been thankful for only half a day of trading, with a Hang Seng subindex of mainland property shares diving more than 3%.

Mainland stocks are already on holiday, having ended their week on a high after Beijing appointed a new head of the securities watchdog: a veteran regulator with a reputation for forceful action.

In Japan, the Nikkei surged after more dovish signals from the central bank ahead of a three-day weekend.

Bank of Japan Governor Kazuo Ueda echoed comments from his deputy the day before that monetary conditions would stay easy even after an exit from negative short-term rates.

Meanwhile, the European Central Bank’s reticence to cut rates faces a test from the release of final German inflation numbers for January.

Ultimately, though, it’s likely to be earnings that drive the market narrative in Europe on the final trading day of the week, with French luxury names at the top of a long list of corporate reports.

Hermes will release full-year results, while L’Oreal will hold an earnings briefing after reporting late on Thursday.

The STOXX 600 has managed a bare 0.28% gain so far this week and could still end in either direction, after finishing flat the week before.

The same goes for Britain’s FTSE, which is now showing a 0.26% drop – the same as its loss last week.

Key developments that could influence markets on Friday:

-Germany CPI, HICP Final (Jan)

-Italy industrial output (Dec), Sweden industrial production (Dec)

-Hermes earnings

(By Kevin Buckland; Editing by Edmund Klamann)