Asia Rises, Hong Kong Soars

Stocks in Asia-Pacific were higher on Wednesday, as a private survey showed slowing growth in China’s services sector activity last month.

The Nikkei 225 regained 150.93 points, or 0.5%, to 29,559.10.

The Japanese yen traded at 106.86 per U.S. dollar, still weaker than levels below 105.7 against the greenback seen last week.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng leaped 784.56 points, or 1.7%, to 29,095.86.

Shares of Chinese banks listed in the city saw strong gains: China Construction Bank gained 5.6%, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China surged 5.8% and Bank of China rose 4.1%.

Australia’s gross domestic product rose 3.1% in seasonally adjusted chain volumes terms in the December quarter, according to figures released by the country’s Bureau of Statistics. That figure beat expectations for a 2.5% rise by economists in an economist poll and followed a 3.4% growth in the third quarter.

The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7824, following levels around $0.774 seen yesterday.

CHINA

In China, the CSI 300 recaptured 102.58 points, or 1.9%, to 5,452.21.

The Caixin/Markit services Purchasing Managers’ Index came in at 51.5 for February, a decline from January’s reading of 52. PMI readings above 50 represent expansion while those below that level signify contraction. PMI readings are sequential and show on-month expansion or contraction.

In other markets

In Taiwan, the Taiex jumped 264.58 points, or 1.7%, to 16,211.73.

In Korea, the Kospi index gained 39.12 points, or 1.3%, to 3,082.99.

In Singapore, the Straits Times index advanced 26.5 points, or 0.9% to 3,000.37

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 added 14.77 points, or 0.1%, to 12,359.26.

In Australia, the ASX 200 recovered 55.71 points, or 0.8%, to 6,817.98