The Bund Bull in Shanghai on Feb. 28, 2023. After three years of turbulence under the Covid pandemic, China's leaders are expected to lay out goals to get growth back on track.
Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty Images
China and Hong Kong stocks gained ground Wednesday as video-game shares surged, while Australia stocks hit a near two-year high, as more markets resumed trading after a Christmas break.
China's CSI 300 index added 0.40% by afternoon trading as shares of video-game companies rebounded after declining in the previous session.
Chinese online gaming stocks rose in Hong Kong trading after Beijing's top gaming regulator said it would "carefully study" the concerns of all stakeholders on draft rules aimed at curbing excessive gaming and spending.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng index rose 1.7%. This is the first trading day of the week for Hong Kong markets.
Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index ended 0.79% higher at 7,561.20. The index hit its highest level since late April 2022, as trading resumed for the week. It is eying yearly gains of over 7%.
Aussie stocks have been buoyed by hopes that the Reserve Bank of Australia will no longer be hiking interest rates after the central bank held rates steady at its last meeting of the year, partly driven by the Federal Reserve's more dovish tilt.
With fewer data points on the economic calendar and all major central bank meetings out of the way, trading volumes are expected to be thin.
Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 1.25%, while the broader Topix index added 1.19%. The Topix is headed for its fourth straight day of gains.
The Nikkei 225 has gained more than 27% so far this year, making it Asia's top performing index for 2023.
South Korea's Kospi reversed early gains to trade flat, while the small-cap Kosdaq index rose 1.17%.
Overnight, stocks on Wall Street kicked off the last week of the year on a positive note, pushing the S&P 500 closer to record levels.
The Nasdaq 100 gained 0.6% and notched an all-time high and record close, ending the session at 16,878.46.
— CNBC's Clement Tan, Samantha Subin and Fred Imbert contributed to this report.
Tencent, NetEase rebound after China gaming regulator's assurance
NetEase shares rebound
Tencent and NetEase shares rebounded after China's top gaming regulator said it will "carefully study" the concerns of all stakeholders on draft rules aimed at curbing excessive online gaming and spending.
The draft guidelines from China's National Press and Publication Administration released last Friday sank the Hong Kong-listed shares of Tencent, NetEase and Bilibili — among the largest players in the world's biggest online gaming market.
Tencent shares rebound
NetEase shares surged nearly 14% in early trading as Hong Kong markets returned from the Christmas holidays. The stock had plunged about 25% on Friday. Rival Tencent opened Wednesday's session up 3% after shedding more than $43 billion in market value in Friday's rout.
— Clement Tan
Aussie stocks hit near 2-year highs, dollar flat
Stocks in Australia led gains among Asia-Pacific markets in the early hours of Wednesday.
Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index gained as much as 1.2% to hit a high of 7,593.40, a level not seen since late April 2022, as trading resumed for the week. The Aussie dollar traded flat against the U.S. dollar.
The index is eying gains of over 7% for 2023. Australia stocks have fared better than other major Asia-Pacific markets. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index has clocked declines of over 17% this year, while China's CSI 300 index is down over 13%.
Aussie stocks have been supported by hopes that the Reserve Bank of Australia will no longer be hiking interest rates after the central bank held rates steady at its last meeting of the year, partly driven by the Federal Reserve's more dovish tilt.
Minutes from the RBA's last meeting showed that the Australian central bank deliberated on whether to raise rates by 25 basis points or leave them unchanged, with the board members eventually deciding to hold them at 4.35%.
— Shreyashi Sanyal
CNBC Pro: AI, wearables and more — these markets are booming as the world ages. The pros share 4 stock picks
The world is aging rapidly, and there are more and more ways to invest in this theme.
CNBC Pro asks expert investors in the area what the emerging trends are and the stocks to buy.
— Weizhen Tan
CNBC Pro: These 8 stocks rally with a 100% hit rate when a ‘golden cross’ chart pattern forms
Eight stocks have rallied every single time after a chart pattern known as a "golden cross" has occurred, according to CNBC Pro's analysis.
The golden cross pattern occurs when a stock's short-term 50-day moving average goes above its long-term 200-day moving average on a chart. Wall Street often sees this as a bullish signal and an indicator of strong upward momentum that often precedes sustained gains.
The technical analysis of these stocks found that share prices rallied 100% of the time by 15% on average in the 30 days after forming the pattern.
— Ganesh Rao
Stocks finish higher, S&P edges closer to record
Energy stocks outperform, gain as oil prices rise
Expect more pressure ahead for oil, Again Capital's Kilduff says
Oil has had a tough year, and John Kilduff doesn't see things getting any easier for the commodity.
"In the year ahead, we'll scale some heights temporarily, but for the most part there are big headwinds here in terms of the economic outlook," Kilduff, founding partner of Again Capital, told CNBC's "Squawk on the Street."
He noted the global economic outlook is softening, "and that's going to speak right to crude oil demand [and] energy demand for the next year." He also said that, "with the United States doing what it's doing in terms of record production, sky high exports ... OPEC+ just can't cut enough to sustain a price much above where we are right now."
West Texas Intermediate futures jumped more than 3% on Tuesday but remained 5.4% lower for 2023.
WTI in 2023
— Fred Imbert