Asian Shares Mixed In Cautious Trading

Asian Shares Mixed In Cautious Trading

August 12, 2021

Asian stocks ended mixed on Thursday as the latest private payrolls data from the U.S. disappointed and China’s state media once again took aim at the video game sector, calling for higher taxes on the gaming industry.

Chinese shares retreated as the country tightened overseas travel restrictions for its citizens as part of efforts to contain the fast-spreading Delta variant of the coronavirus.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index dipped 10.67 points, or 0.3 percent, to 3,466.55, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell 221.86 points, or 0.8 percent, to 26,204.69.

Japanese shares advanced as a slew of upbeat earnings results helped offset investor concerns about a surge in coronavirus cases amid the Olympic Games.

The Nikkei 225 Index rose 144.04 points, or 0.5 percent, to 27,728.12, while the broader Topix ended the day 0.4 percent higher at 1,928.98.

Nippon Yusen soared 12.7 percent, Kikkoman Corp surged 9.9 percent and Hitachi Zozen climbed 6.8 percent after delivering better than expected earnings.

Rakuten Group added 8.4 percent after the electronic commerce company entered a partnership to build a new mobile network in Germany.

Australian markets ended modestly higher as trade balance figures came in above forecasts and Sydney reported its worst day of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index inched up 7.90 points, or 0.1 percent, to 7,511.10, while the broader All Ordinaries Index ended marginally higher at 7,779.60.

Tech stocks finished broadly higher, with Xero climbing 2.2 percent and Nuix adding 2.8 percent. Commonwealth Bank of Australia gained 1.2 percent and National Australia Bank rose 0.8 percent ahead of their earnings results next week.

Energy stocks such as Oil Search, Santos, Woodside Petroleum and Origin Energy lost 1-2 percent after oil prices fell for a third day in a row to a two-week low on Wednesday on a surprise build in U.S. crude stockpiles.

Miners BHP, Rio Tinto, Mineral Resources and Fortescue Metals Group declined 2-3 percent. Resolute Mining jumped 4.5 percent after the gold miner said it would sell its Bibiani mine in Ghana to Canada’s Asante Gold Corp for $90 million.

Seoul stocks ended slightly lower as investors locked in profits from a three-day rally. The benchmark Kospi slipped 4.25 points, or 0.1 percent, to settle at 3,276.13 as daily new coronavirus cases stayed in the 1,700s for the second straight day despite the toughest-ever virus restrictions.

Yonhap News reported that the toughest restrictions in the greater Seoul area are “highly likely to be extended again” as cases remain persistently high.

Tech heavyweight Samsung Electronics lost 1 percent and No. 2 chipmaker SK Hynix shed 0.8 percent, while healthcare firm Samsung Biologics gained 1 percent, internet portal operator Naver rallied 2.2 percent and battery maker Samsung SDI jumped 3.5 percent.

New Zealand shares fell as a “connectivity issue” forced an early close on the stock exchange. The benchmark NZX 50 Index ended down 42.96 points, or 0.3 percent, at 12,754.33.

U.S. stocks ended broadly lower overnight, as private sector employment numbers came in below expectations, Fed Vice Chair Clarida issued a hawkish forecast and General Motors reported second quarter earnings that missed expectations.

The Dow dipped 0.9 percent and the S&P 500 shed half a percent, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite crept up 0.1 percent.

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