China cut its five-year loan prime rate (LPR) by 15 basis points on Friday morning. Authorities seek to cushion an economic slowdown, though it left the one-year LPR unchanged. A gauge of global equities remained set for its longest weekly losing streak on record.

Most respondents to a Reuters poll had expected a marginal 5-basis-point cut to both rates. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan quickly built on early gains. Chinese blue-chips were 1.1% higher in early trade and Hong Kong's Hang Seng index jumped more than 2%.

MSCI's All-Country World Price Index is headed for its seventh straight week in the red. In Tokyo, the Nikkei stock index gained 1%. "While it certainly will not suffice to reverse growth headwinds in Q2, (the cut) constitutes a move in the right direction," said Carlos Casanova.

Cisco Systems Inc (NASDAQ:CSCO) on Thursday tumbled to an 18-month low after it warned of persistent component shortages. Concerns over the impact of battered supply chains on inflation and growth have prompted investors to dump shares. China's financial hub of Shanghai announced three new COVID-19 cases outside of quarantined areas.
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