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  • Equities through Asia are continuing Wall Street’s lift on bullish earnings and a hawkish Fed primed for more rate hikes.
  • Chinese equities have been grinding their way back into neutral territory for the year after the recent tariff spat between the US and China took China’s indexes deeply into bear territory.

Equities in Asia are stepping higher in Thursday’s trading, pressing into the green in lock-step with Wednesday’s US equities session, which saw stocks on the rise following positive earnings in the banking sector and the US Fed’s chairman Jerome Powell keeping expectations of a September rate hike on the high side.

Wall Street lifted to close off Wednesday’s trading, driven higher by better-than-expected earnings in financials, with investment bank Morgan Stanley leading the banking sector higher on positive earnings, taking the S&P 500 within 2% of the index’s all-time high. US Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell also concluded his two-day Senate testimony, stating that there may still be room for a further drop in unemployment and that potential risks to the Fed’s rate-hike projections remain “balanced”, keeping markets hopeful for a further rate hike in September.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 index is up 0.50% for Thursday, with the Tokyo Topix index close behind at 0.45%, and Australia’s ASX 200 near 0.40% for the day; China stocks are also rallying today, with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng up 0.65% and Shanghai’s CSI 300 index in the green at 1.00%, though the two major Chinese bourses remain in the red for 2018 at -4.00% and -4.30% respectively after sharp declines in the on-going trade spat between China and the US, which has yet to be resolved, and promises further tariff action from both sides in the coming months.

Nikkei 225 levels to watch

Japan’s leading Nikkei 225 index is up 0.66% for the week, bumping into 22,860.00 for Thursday and trading near the week’s highs at 22,950.00. A mild push higher will have the index challenging June’s highs at the major 23,000.00 level, while July’s lack of short-side correction will have traders watching out for a poorly-timed fall into the 38.2% Fibo retracement level near 22,390.00, with support from the last Daily candle swing low at 21,760.00.