Asian Stocks Up, Fears of Stocks Slowdown Cap Gains By

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By Gina Lee – Asia Pacific stocks were mixed on Wednesday morning, as global markets headed towards record highs and investors continued to assess the global economic recovery from COVID-19.

Japan’s inched up 0.02% by 10:41 PM ET (2:41 AM GMT), with numbers for February to be released on Thursday. South Korea’s edged up 0.19%, as voting gets underway for in the two biggest cities of Seoul and Busan.

In Australia, the edged up 0.16% while Hong Kong’s was down 0.60%.

China’s fell 0.66% and the Shenzhen Component slid 1.33%. Investors digested Tuesday’s , with March’s reading at 54.3. China will release further data, including the and indexes, on Friday.

Investor sentiment continues to be boosted by continued support from central banks and an improving growth outlook.

The IMF on Apr. 5 opened its  2021 spring meetings with forecasts for the strongest global expansion in at least four decades. The meetings, co-hosted with the World Bank continue to meet virtually until Apr. 11.

Investor concerns about higher borrowing costs leading to runaway inflation also eased, leading to subsiding bond yields as traders pull their more aggressive positioning for U.S. Federal Reserve policy tightening.

“Central banks are continuing to keep interest rates so low so people are looking for someplace to put their money where they can get a return… I think that’s also why you have stocks priced somewhat for perfection,” Alpine Woods Capital Investors associate portfolio manager Sarah Hunt told Bloomberg.

The Fed will publish the minutes from its March meeting later in the day, and chairman Jerome Powell will take part in a panel about the global economy a day later.

The U.S. also released February’s report on Tuesday, which showed that vacancies rose to a two-year high of 7.367 million. Hiring also recording its biggest gain in nine months thanks to increased COVID-19 vaccinations and additional government stimulus.

Investors also continue to dig through the rubble from the Archegos Capital Management liquidation as Credit Suisse (SIX:) Group (NYSE:), one of the latest victims, unloaded more than $2 billion of shares.

Other investors remained cautious, however, as Asian trading started.

“We’ve had a few big up days in a row, and I think markets are looking to a take a little bit of a pause here… from an economic data perspective, we didn’t get too much information except for the jobs opening report and market pricing is reflecting that,” Allianz (DE:) Investment Management vice president of portfolio management Charlie Ripley told Reuters.

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