Chinese Stocks Climb on Upbeat Data, Gold Soars: Markets Wrap

(Bloomberg) — Chinese shares rose by the most in a month on fresh signs of an economic recovery, forming a bright spot in Asia. Gold jumped to a record high.

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Benchmarks gained in mainland China and South Korea, while Japanese equities fell after a report showed confidence among the country’s large manufacturers weakened slightly for the first time in four quarters. US futures edged higher in Asia, with markets in Australia and Hong Kong shut for a holiday.

China’s CSI 300 Index jumped as much as 1.8%, the most since Feb. 29, as a rebound in manufacturing activity reinforced hopes that the nation’s economic recovery may be starting to gain traction.

“Emerging optimism about China is real,” said Vishnu Varathan, chief economist for Asia ex-Japan at Mizuho Bank in Singapore. It may gain traction given “corresponding optimism elsewhere in Asia that dovetails with an upturn in global manufacturing,” he said.

Global equities rose over 18% in the previous two quarters, driven by bets on interest-rate cuts and artificial intelligence stocks. Those themes will remain front and center of investor’s minds as markets head into the new period.

Treasury yields and a Bloomberg index of the dollar inched lower after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said Friday that the central bank’s preferred gauge of inflation was “pretty much in line with our expectations.” Powell added that it wouldn’t be appropriate to lower rates until officials are sure inflation is in check. Investors are betting the US central bank will make that first cut in June.

The core personal consumption expenditures price index — which excludes volatile food and energy costs — rose 0.3% in February after climbing in the previous month, marking its biggest back-to-back gain in a year. The measure is up 2.8% from a year earlier, still above the Fed’s 2% target.

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“You have a Fed that at the moment is highly data dependent,” said Matthew Luzzetti, chief US economist at Deutsche Bank. “Until we get either confirmation or a different view on…

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