Asian Shares Mixed As China Covid Cases Rise

Asian Shares Mixed As China Covid Cases Rise

July 11, 2022

Asian stocks ended mixed on Monday and U.S. stock futures fell as inflation worries persisted and fresh rounds of mass COVID-19 testing in parts of eastern China added to worries about slowing global growth.

Gold traded flat at the start of the week and the dollar hovered close to record two-decade highs, while oil reversed losses amid concerns of tight supply and lower OPEC output.

Chinese shares reversed course to end higher despite signs of new waves of infections in the country. The benchmark Shanghai Composite index rose 0.53 percent to 3,405.43. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index slipped 0.13 percent to settle at 21,830.35.

Japanese shares closed higher, led by gains in the utility sector. The Nikkei average climbed 0.84 percent to 26,153.81 while the broader Topix index ended 1.34 percent higher at 1,869.71.

Tokyo Electric Power Company shares surged nearly 13 percent as Japan endures one of its worst heat waves on record, raising concern about potential power shortages amid surging demand.

Technology giant SoftBank Group rallied 3 percent in the wake of reports that Fortress Investment Group, part of the Softbank group of funds, is now the frontrunner in negotiations to acquire Seven & I Holdings’ struggling department store unit Sogo & Seibu.

Department store owner J. Front Retailing plunged 5.6 percent after reporting disappointing sales figures for its Daimaru and Matsuzakaya stores. Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings lost 4.2 percent and Takashimaya declined 2.3 percent.

Seoul stocks edged lower after a report by Nomura Holdings revealed many major economies will enter recessions over the next 12 months.

The Kospi average slid 0.22 percent to 2,300.34, extending losses for the fourth day and hitting a fresh 20-month low. Builders, shipbuilders and chemical companies led losses.

Australian markets rallied, with banks and energy stocks leading the surge ahead of a Reserve Bank policy meeting on Tuesday. Economists widely expect the central bank to hike its cash rate by another 50 basis points to tame surging inflation.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index jumped 1.11 percent to 6,612.60 while the broader All Ordinaries index closed 1.14 percent higher at 6,796.90.

The big banks all rose around 1 percent while Santos and Woodside Energy gained around 3 percent each. Magellan Financial gave up 9.9 percent after reports that its long-serving head of sales and distribution, Frank Casarotti, would be departing the company in December 2023.

Across the Tasman, the benchmark NZX-50 index rose 1.02 percent to 10,862.34 after the U.S. markets ended on a stronger note Friday.

SkyCity Entertainment Group lost 4.1 percent after South Australia’s gaming regulator said it would undertake an independent review of its Adelaide casino as part of a widespread investigation into Australia’s casino industry.

U.S. stocks rose sharply on Friday and Treasury yields extended recent decline, as weak manufacturing and construction spending data helped raise expectations that the Federal Reserve might opt for a less aggressive pace of rate hikes in the months ahead.

The Dow and the S&P 500 both climbed around 1.1 percent while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite shed 0.9 percent.

Financial markets in the U.S. will be closed today for Independence Day.

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