European shares rose on Wednesday while shares in Asia were buoyed by plans by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba to split into six business units after years of pressure from national regulators.
Europe’s regional Stoxx 600 index added 0.6% in early trading as UBS shares rose 2% after the bank said it would bring back Sergio Ermotti as Managing Director to steer its takeover of Credit Suisse. The European Stoxx 600 Banks index gained 1%.
London’s FTSE 100, meanwhile, rose 0.4% ahead of the latest British Retail Consortium Store Price Index and February mortgage approvals data from the Office for National Statistics.
In Asia, shares of Hong Kong-listed Alibaba rose more than 12%, after similar gains on Wall Street the day before, while the Hang Seng Tech index which tracks the biggest tech companies listed in the city rose. climbed 1.8%. The Chinese CSI 300 rose 0.2%.
The moves in Asia came after Alibaba announced a radical restructuring plan Tuesday would see the company separated into business groups dedicated to cloud computing, e-commerce, local services, logistics, digital commerce and media. Long under pressure from national regulators, Alibaba’s stock has fallen nearly 70% from its October 2020 peak.
In the United States, futures on Wall Street’s S&P 500 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 rose 0.7% and 0.8% respectively ahead of the New York open.
The S&P 500 fell 0.2% in the previous session for its first decline in three days, dragged lower by tech giants like Alphabet and Apple. Bank stocks held steady, suggesting investor jitters over the turbulence at Silicon Valley Bank, Signature and First Republic this month may begin to ease.
Traders applauded the lack of volatility. “There is no reason why the market is less choppy this week,” said Mike Zigmont, head of trading and research at Harvest Volatility. “The calming of the investment community is certainly welcome but also seems transitory.”
Bond markets were also quiet, with the two-year US Treasury yield flat at 4.06% and the 10-year Treasury yield slightly lower at 3.56%. Yields fall when prices rise. The dollar rose 0.2% against a basket of six other currencies.
On an otherwise calm day for economic data releases, investors are expected to focus on U.S. pending home sales numbers, which are expected to have fallen 2.3% in February from January, according to economists surveyed by Refinitiv.
Oil prices continued to rise. Brent crude rose 0.7% to $79.17 a barrel from around $73 a barrel two weeks ago.