Market Close Oct 16

Ant's march lifts Hang Seng index

Ant Group's IPO and digital payments outlook propels Alibaba and Tencent; Asia ex-China weakens on coronavirus spread; Gold catches safe haven bid as dollar weakens

Ant's march lifts Hang Seng index
Ant Group, owner of the world's largest mobile payment system, is preparing for an IPO in Hong Kong and Shanghai which is expected to bring in $35 billion. File photo by Reuters.

(ATF) Hong Kong: Asian markets were broadly weaker as the unrelenting spread of the coronavirus triggered worries about more economic disruptions amid clampdowns in Europe’s biggest cities.

The pandemic has infected 39 million people worldwide and 1.1 million have perished from it.

But Hong Kong outperformed on reports that Ant Group had raised the valuation target for its initial public offering to $280 billion from $250 billion with a $35 billion offering, the world’s largest.

Technology shares propelled the Hang Seng benchmark up 0.94% with Alibaba, Ant Group’s parent jumping 3.23%. Alibaba has the highest weightage in the index. 

“During the past few years, China has been steadily marching toward a cashless society, enabled by Ant Financial’s (33% owned by Alibaba) Alipay and Tencent’s WeChat Pay,” UBS analysts said in a note. 

“Despite short-term impacts from reduced consumer spending post COVID-19, we expect the mobile payment market in China to continue to grow at a 15–20% annual rate over the next 2–3 years,” they said, while adding that they had launched online payment products in a market which had the highest mobile device payment penetration in the world.

Tencent, which also has a significant weight in the benchmark, jumped 2%.

The rest of the region was jittery amid concerns the world’s largest economy would fail to push through a stimulus package before the US elections.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 index fell 0.41%, Australia’s S&P ASX 200 retreated 0.54% and China's CSI 300 index declined 0.15%

Gold added 0.25% to $1,912 per ounce and the dollar weakened 0.3% against a basket of currencies to 93.6. US Treasuries firmed with 10-year yields dipping 1 basis point to 0.72%. 

ATF China Bond 50 Index: ATF indexes steady as PBoC keeps MLF unchanged


Also on Asia Times Financial:

Sino-South Korea tensions thaw in bid to gain Huawei favour 

Japan needs a third budget to help ailing economy: poll

Beijing seen waging a shadow trade war on Australia

Asia Stocks

· Japan’s Nikkei 225 index fell 0.41%

· Australia’s S&P ASX 200 retreated 0.54% 

· Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index climbed 0.94%

· China’s CSI300 dipped 0.15%

· The MSCI Asia Pacific index %.

Stock of the day

Alibaba rose 3.23% after Bloomberg News reported the e-commerce giant’s financial payment unit Ant Group had raised the valuation target for its initial public offering to $280 billion from $250 billion.

Asian markets Ant Group Ant IPO Hang Seng Alibaba Tencent Covid Nikkei