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World stocks on course for strong gains amid tech rally

World stocks markets

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan pared early gains to be 0.2% higher and was heading for a weekly gain of 1.3%

World stock markets are on course on Friday for a week of strong gains as AI company Nvidia’s very strong results sparked a wave of record highs from Asia to Europe and the U.S., while the yen nursed losses on a range of currencies.

Nvidia soared 16.4% overnight, adding a record $277 billion in market value. The firm’s results boosted a global AI-driven rally in tech stocks, propelling the S&P 500, the Dow Jones, Europe’s STOXX 600 and Japan’s Nikkei share average to record highs.

Japan is shut for a public holiday on Friday, but Nikkei futures added around 1%, indicating Japanese stocks will extend their record run next week.

Some regional tech shares took a breather following a stellar rally this week, but MSCI Asia-Pacific ex-Japan IT index still added 0.3% to its highest level since March 2022.

South Korea’s Hynix, the world’s second-largest memory chipmaker which counts Nvidia as a key client, climbed 2.2% and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd surged 1%. The Global X Asia semiconductor ETF was 0.9% higher.

The Nvidia effect has ripped through global equity markets and given fresh wind to markets that were looking ominously poised for a 3-5% drawdown, according to Chris Weston, head of research at Pepperstone in Melbourne.

Consider that Nvidia holds its highly anticipated GTC (technology) conference on 18 March – where they are likely to update the market on new products and innovations – so pullbacks in the stock should be shallow, and we could see buyers push price higher into that event, Weston added.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan pared early gains to be 0.2% higher and was heading for a weekly gain of 1.3%.

Chinese shares wavered between gains and losses. The Shanghai Composite index rose above the key 3,000-point mark before dropping to trade 0.3% higher. It is 4.6% higher for the week and has jumped nearly 10% from five-year lows set more than two weeks ago.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index slid 0.2%.

Data showed on Friday that China’s new home prices dropped for the seventh month in January, leaving sentiment fragile as policymakers’ efforts to restore confidence in the debt-ridden sector struggled for traction.

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