Asian stocks ended mixed on Wednesday as traders weighed the likely impact of the spread of the Delta variant of coronavirus in the region.
Chinese shares ended on a flat note amid bets that the worst of Beijing’s regulatory crackdown has passed. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index ended down 0.1 percent at 26,320.93.
Japanese shares ended near a six-month high after GDP growth for April-June was upwardly revised to an annual pace of 1.9 percent from a preliminary estimate of 1.3 per cent. Investors also expressed hopes that the coronavirus-hit economy would recover under stimulus packages.
The Nikkei 225 Index climbed 265.07 points, or 0.9 percent, to 30,181.21, its highest since March 18. The broader Topix closed 0.8 percent higher at 2,079.61.
Heavyweight SoftBank Group jumped 4.6 percent after announcing a $7 billion share-swap deal with Deutsche Telekom. Tokyo Electron, Advantest, Rakuten Group and Nikon climbed 2-4 percent.
Australian shares ended lower alongside a broad commodity sell-off as the greenback strengthened. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index dropped 18.30 points, or 0.2 percent, to 7,512, while the broader All Ordinaries Index ended down 18.90 points, or 0.2 percent, at 7,807.50.
BHP Billiton fell 1 percent and Rio Tinto dropped half a percent as copper prices hit their lowest level in five months.
Gold miners Newcrest Mining, Evolution Mining and Northern Star Resources lost 3-5 percent after gold retreated over 1.5 percent on Tuesday, hit by a buoyant dollar and higher yields. Energy stocks saw modest gains as oil steadied after a two-day decline.
Seoul stocks ended down for the second day running as tech stocks came under pressure on concerns about regulations against online platform giants. The benchmark Kospi fell 24.43 points, or 0.8 percent, to settle at 3,162.99.
Tech giant Kakao plunged 10 percent and Naver plummeted 7.9 percent after lawmakers warned the nation’s internet giants against abusing their market dominance in the pursuit of profits.
New Zealand shares fell sharply, with the benchmark NZX-50 index ending down 128.98 points, or 1 percent, at 13,193.01. Summerset Group Holdings, Pacific Edge, Serko and Ryman Healthcare dropped 2-3 percent.
U.S. stocks ended mixed overnight as worries that the economic recovery is faltering were offset by expectations that the Federal Reserve may delay tapering asset purchases.
The Dow shed 0.8 percent and the S&P 500 eased 0.3 percent as traders returned from a long weekend. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite edged up marginally to close at a fresh record high.
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