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International Market Update
- European markets closed higher Friday at the start of the second quarter, with talks between Russia and Ukraine continuing to influence investor sentiment. The pan-European Stoxx 600 provisionally closed up 0.6%, with mining stocks leading the gains with a 2.2% gain, while almost all sectors and major bourses closed in positive territory. Meanwhile, talks between Russia and Ukraine have so far borne little fruit. Kiev and its Western allies remain skeptical about Moscow’s intentions and the legitimacy of its pledge of a partial military withdrawal in northern Ukraine.
- U.S. stocks edged higher Friday as investors assessed a new trading quarter and a troubling recession indicator for the bond market. Investors also digested the official jobs report for March, which showed a gain of 431,000 jobs in the U.S. economy. The result was below the Dow Jones composite estimate of 490,000, but above some of the lower-end estimates. Commodity sector stocks gained, while health care, utilities and energy stocks also outperformed.
- Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index led gains in major Asia-Pacific markets this morning as Chinese tech stocks advanced in the city. The Hang Seng Index rose about 1% as shares of Tencent gained 2.16%. Other Chinese tech stocks also rose, with Alibaba up 2.64% and NetEase up 4.91%. Japan’s Nikkei 225 traded marginally higher as shares of conglomerate SoftBank Group gained 3.76%. The Topix index climbed 0.16%.
In International News
China’s WeChat suspends some accounts linked to NFTs
China’s popular messaging app WeChat has blocked some accounts linked to non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to prevent speculation in these digital assets. The platform says it has “rectified” accounts it found to be encouraging speculation with NFTs, which can lead to a rise in prices. Currently, there are no specific regulations against NFTs in China. However, mining and trading of cryptocurrencies was banned by authorities last year.
Chinese electric car startups Xpeng, Nio and Li Auto see surge in deliveries in March
Chinese electric car startups Nio, Xpeng and Li Auto delivered more cars in March than in February, despite facing a number of challenges in recent weeks. Chinese electric car makers have been struggling with an increase in covid cases in China that threaten to disrupt production and deliveries, while raw material costs continue to rise. That has forced several automakers in China, from Tesla to Xpeng and Li Auto, to raise prices on their cars. Of the three companies, Xpeng shipped the most electric cars in March. The Guangzhou-headquartered automaker said it delivered 15,414 vehicles in March, up 148% from February. In the first quarter, Xpeng delivered 34,561 vehicles, up 159% year-on-year.