A look at the day ahead in European and global markets from Kevin Buckland
The rally in semiconductor shares has circled the globe, and is almost single-handedly setting Japan's Nikkei share average .N225 back on track for a second consecutive weekly advance.
A 1.4% bounce for the Japanese benchmark was only outdone by the more than 2% jump in Taiwan .TWII, home to TSMC 2330.TW, which catalysed the buying frenzy with its projection for 20%-plus revenue growth this year.
But mainland Chinese and Hong Kong .HSI stocks continued to stand out for the wrong reasons, losing ground while the rest of the region rose.
Chinese blue chips are on track for a third straight down week amid a patchy economic recovery and disappointment over stimulus steps so far. The CSI 300 .CSI300 tumbled to a nearly five-year low on Thursday, and needed what looked like buying by state-backed funds to hoist it to a 1.4% gain for the day.
Japan stands in sharp contrast with its more than 7% rally so far this year putting it head and shoulders above major peers, most of which are in the red in 2024.
A sharp slide in the yen is buoying the profit outlook for Japan's many big exporters, with a Bank of Japan policy normalisation looking further away as economic data shows price pressures are waning.
Economists unanimously predict no change at the conclusion of the BOJ's rate-setting meeting next Tuesday.
Meanwhile, European chip stocks have already had their rally, but it will take a lot more than Thursday's 0.59% gain for the STOXX 600 .STOXX to escape a loss for the week.
The Davos forum enters its final day, and ECB President Christine Lagarde has the podium. However, she already muffled market enthusiasm with her comments on Wednesday suggesting that rate cuts will not be coming as soon as investors may have hoped, and it seems unlikely she'll backtrack today.
British markets face a test from retail sales data, after a surprisingly hot inflation reading mid-week reinforced speculation that the Bank of England will be slower to cut rates than the Fed and ECB, buoying sterling GBP=D3 and sending stocks .FTSE to multi-week lows.
Key developments that could influence markets on Friday:
UK retail sales (Dec)
Germany producer prices (Dec)
US existing home sales (Dec), University of Michigan consumer sentiment (Jan)
Japan's core inflation slows for 2nd straight month https://tmsnrt.rs/3U5u684
(By Kevin Buckland; Editing by Edmund Klamann)