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EQUITIES

Most major Asia-Pac equity indices deal 0.3% to 0.8% weaker at typing on a negative lead from Wall St., with the Australian ASX200 and Korean KOSPI bucking the broader trend of losses in the region. Debate re: progress in ongoing Russia-Ukraine ceasefire talks has done the rounds in Asia, with participants noting continued Russian shelling of Ukrainian positions in the north despite the former’s assurances to the contrary earlier in the week

  • The ASX200 sits 0.2% better off at typing, led by outperformance in the materials sub-index despite weakness in major commodity benchmarks. Large gains were observed in index heavyweights BHP Group, Rio Tinto, and Telstra, overcoming muted performance in financials and energy-related names.
  • The CSI300 deals 0.5% softer at typing, trading lower after official PMI figures for March came in below expectations while pointing to contractions in manufacturing and non-manufacturing activity, exacerbating worry re: slower growth as China has deployed lockdowns to fight an ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. Richly valued consumer discretionary equities underperformed, led by losses in Chinese liquor stocks.
  • The Hang Seng trades 0.8% lower at writing, with 54 of the index’s 66 constituents in the red. China-based tech stocks struggled, with the Hang Seng Tech Index sitting 1.3% weaker at typing after tech giant Baidu was added by the U.S. SEC to a list of companies that could get “kicked off” U.S. stock exchanges over well-documented auditing disputes re: U.S.-listed Chinese companies.
  • U.S. e-mini equity index futures have backed away from session highs and deal 0.1% to 0.4% firmer at typing. NASDAQ contracts outperformed, with the broader move higher coming as major crude benchmarks have declined in Asia.

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