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Hong Kong leads Asian markets higher on Alibaba boost

AFP . Hong Kong
30 Mar 2023 00:00:00 | Update: 30 Mar 2023 00:52:32
Hong Kong leads Asian markets higher on Alibaba boost

Asian stocks were broadly up on Wednesday to buck losses on Wall Street, led by massive gains for Chinese tech behemoth Alibaba after it announced it would split into six groups.

The Hangzhou-based firm said the changes were intended to “unlock shareholder value and foster market competitiveness”.

Alibaba is one of China’s most prominent tech firms, with operations spanning cloud computing, e-commerce, logistics, media and entertainment, and artificial intelligence.

By the close on Wednesday, its Hong Kong-listed shares were up by more than 12 per cent. Its New York-listed shares were also up in the previous session.

“Investors could get hyped on the positive side in the short term,” said Willer Chen, senior research analyst at Forsyth Barr Asia.

“Alibaba’s shakeup plan may also lead investors to think of the potential for other tech firms like Tencent to follow suit.”

Tencent and Baidu also advanced.

The Hang Seng Index had gained more than two per cent by the close, having troubled three per cent earlier in the day.

The Nikkei 225 index had advanced 1.33 per cent by the close in Tokyo, where Softbank -- which owns a large stake in Alibaba -- had risen by just over two per cent.

Despite losses on Wall Street, the Tokyo market proved resilient as “excessive fears over the European financial system dwindled”, IwaiCosmo Securities said. There were gains on most other Asian bourses, though Shanghai posted small losses.

Europe’s main stock markets rose at the start of trading Wednesday.

London’s benchmark FTSE 100 index climbed 0.3 per cent to 7,506.31 points. In the eurozone, Frankfurt’s DAX index won 0.7 per cent to 15,242.54 points and the Paris CAC 40 gained 0.7 per cent to 7,139.99.

Following a flattish day in European markets on Tuesday, US stock indices had finished modestly lower, shrugging off a better-than-expected consumer confidence reading.

The closely watched consumer confidence index increased in March to 104.2 from 103.4 last month, The Conference Board said in a statement.

“While consumers feel a bit more confident about what’s ahead, they are slightly less optimistic about the current landscape,” said Ataman Ozyildirim, senior director for economics at The Conference Board.