Most Asian stock markets rose on Friday as appetite for risk-driven assets was supported by better-than-expected U.S. economic growth data, while Indian stocks extended their descent as heavyweight Adani remained under pressure from a short seller report. Overnight data showed that the world’s largest economy grew more than expected during the fourth quarter, dispelling some concerns that a recession was imminent. This triggered sharp gains on Wall Street, which in turn spilled over into Asia. South Korea’s KOSPI index was the best performer for the day, rising nearly 1%, while Indonesian stocks led gains across Southeast Asia with a 0.7% jump. Australia’s ASX 200 index also rose 0.5% as data showed some slowing in local producer price index inflation through the fourth quarter, which could eventually lead to softening consumer prices. On the other hand, India’s Nifty 50 and BSE Sensex 30 indexes fell about 0.7% and 1% respectively, as selling in shares of companies under the Adani Group resumed after a market holiday on Thursday. The conglomerate denied the allegations of fraud and market manipulation raised by Hindenburg Research, and threatened legal action against the short seller.
But Markets Appeared Unconvinced By Adani’s Response.
as selling in the seven listed firms under the conglomerate showed no signs of stopping. Adani Total Gas Ltd (NS:ADAG) and Adani Transmission Ltd (NS:ADAI) were the worst hit, tumbling over 13% each. A string of weak bank earnings also weighed on Indian stocks, while markets feared any potential contagion in the lending sector from Adani. Japan’s Nikkei 225 index also lagged its peers for the day, rising less than 0.1% after data showed that inflation in the country’s capital grew more than expected in January. The reading usually heralds a similar trend in nationwide CPI inflation, which is already trending at a 41-year high and well above the Bank of Japan’s annual 2% target. The outlook for Japanese stocks has become clouded by uncertainty over the BOJ’s plans for monetary policy. While rising inflation in the country is expected to eventually bring an end to the bank’s ultra-accommodative stance, traders are unsure when such a move may occur, after the BOJ ducked market expectations in its January meeting. Focus among broader Asian markets now turns to Chinese markets reopening after a week-long holiday, as well as a Federal Reserve meeting next week.