Asian Shares Give Up Gains To End Mostly Lower

Asian stocks ended mostly lower on Monday, as hawkish comments from a Federal Reserve official offset investor optimism over China’s sweeping rescue package to salvage its real estate market.

Meanwhile, several Chinese cities reported record COVID-19 cases, days after top health officials began refining rules around control of the virus.

China’s Shanghai Composite Index ended 0.1 percent lower at 3,083.40, giving up early gains after authorities unveiled sweeping measures to rescue the country’s struggling property sector.

Investors also awaited the outcome of a rare face-to-face meeting between the leaders of the world’s two largest economies taking place on the sidelines of this week’s Group of 20 Summit in Bali.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rallied 1.7 percent to 17,619.71, led by gains by property stocks.

Japanese shares fell sharply after SoftBank Corp reported a heavy loss at its Vision Fund investment arm for a third consecutive quarter.

Shares of the tech investor plunged 12.7 percent, while the Nikkei 225 Index slumped 1.1 percent to 27,963.47 ahead of GDP, trade and consumer inflation data due this week. The broader Topix closed 1.1 percent lower at 1,956.90.

Banks declined, with Sumitomo Mitsui Financial, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial and Mizuho Financial falling 1-2 percent.

Seoul stocks gave up early gains to end modestly lower, dragged down by tech stocks. The Kospi eased 0.3 percent to end at 2,474.65. Samsung Electronics, SK Hynix, LG Energy Solutions and Naver lost 2-3 percent.

Australian markets reversed early gains to end slightly lower for the day. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index slipped 0.2 percent to 7,146.30 while the broader All Ordinaries Index finished marginally higher at 7,350.20.

Financials succumbed to profit taking, offsetting gains among commodity stocks.

Champion Iron shares jumped 12.9 percent, tracking gains in iron ore prices as China showed signs of relaxing its zero-COVID policy. Mining heavyweights BHP and Rio Tinto surged 3-4 percent.

Agribusiness Elders plunged almost 23 percent, hit by the news of its CEO’s departure and fears of a flooded winter crop harvest.

Across the Tasman, New Zealand’s benchmark NZX-50 Index dropped 0.7 percent to 11,231.97 despite a positive reading on the country’s services sector.

U.S. stocks saw further upside on Friday amid optimism over easing inflation and hopes the Federal Reserve would soon slow its tightening campaign.

The S&P 500 rose 0.9 percent to close out its best week since June and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite climbed 1.9 percent to score its biggest weekly gain since March, while the Dow ended flat with a positive bias after steep declines in Merck and UnitedHealth shares.

For the week, the Nasdaq skyrocketed 8.1 percent, the S&P 500 soared 5.9 percent and the Dow jumped 4.2 percent.

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