By Tanner Brown
Chinese stocks hit a two-year high Thursday, as new coronavirus cases fall inside the country and rise elsewhere around the world.
The blue-chip CSI 300 Index /zigman2/quotes/210598128/delayed XX:000300 +0.61% jumped 2.2% on the day to 4,206.72, its highest point since February 2018. The benchmark indexes of the Shanghai, Shenzhen and Hong Kong exchanges also rose roughly 2%.
What has been a bullish week in China comes amid volatility on U.S. markets, which have seen wild swings as investors juggle effects of the Democratic primary, increases in U.S. coronavirus cases, and an emergency rate cut from the Federal Reserve. Analysts told MarketWatch that U.S. equities would likely continue to experience a higher-than-normal period of volatility.
Chinese stocks have been on a 13% run over the last month, more than recouping the huge one-day fall when trading resumed after the long Lunar New Year break.
Shares in several big Chinese financial firms are driving the gains. The country’s largest insurer, Ping An Insurance /zigman2/quotes/202773380/delayed CN:601318 +0.36% , is up nearly 6% since Monday, as are China Merchants /zigman2/quotes/210188047/delayed CN:600036 -0.11% and Industrial Bank /zigman2/quotes/209353019/delayed CN:601166 +1.59% , which all trade in Shanghai.
China’s Finance Ministry said Thursday it has allocated 110.48 billion yuan ($16 billion) in coronavirus-related funding so far, in addition to other measures the country’s policy makers have made, such as tax cuts and loan relief.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI -2.03% saw its biggest one-day jump in a month, with shares of tech companies leading the rise. AAC Technologies /zigman2/quotes/201351318/delayed AACAY -0.56% /zigman2/quotes/201441510/delayed HK:2018 -1.44% , which supplies parts to Apple /zigman2/quotes/202934861/composite AAPL -2.58% , saw the biggest daily gain, at 5%. China’s two tech giants, Tencent /zigman2/quotes/207908563/delayed TCEHY -4.20% /zigman2/quotes/204605823/delayed HK:700 -1.76% and Alibaba /zigman2/quotes/201948298/composite BABA -2.57% /zigman2/quotes/215112034/delayed HK:9988 -3.53% , both saw big increases on the day.
The yuan, meanwhile, has strengthened to a two-week high. The Chinese currency /zigman2/quotes/210561112/realtime/sampled CNYUSD -0.1276% eased away from the 7-yuan-to-the-dollar mark — which has tended to spook mainland investors — back down to 6.94.
Tanner Brown is a contributor to MarketWatch and Barron’s and producer of the Caixin-Sinica Business Brief podcast.