Asian Shares Mixed In Cautious Trading
Asian stocks ended mixed on Thursday despite encouraging news about Covid-19 vaccines from Pfizer and BioNTech. As inflation worries mount, focus turned to the release of U.S. inflation data on Friday and next week’s Fed meeting.
Chinese shares rose for a third consecutive session as investors digested the latest inflation data. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index climbed 35.47 points, or 1 percent, to 3,673.04, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index jumped 257.99 points, or 1.1 percent, to 24,254.86.
Consumer prices in China were up 2.3 percent year-on-year in November, the National Bureau of Statistics said. That was up from 1.5 percent in October but shy of expectations for a gain of 2.5 percent.
The bureau also said that producer prices jumped an annual 12.9 percent, topping forecasts for 12.4 percent but down from 13.5 percent a month earlier.
Japanese shares ended lower after a two-day surge. The Nikkei 225 Index slid 135.15 points, or 0.5 percent, to close at 28,725.47, after having risen 3 percent over the past two days. The broader Topix closed 0.6 percent lower at 1,990.79.
Precision instrument, textile and apparel, and metal product issues paced the declines. Market heavyweight SoftBank Group gained 1.1 percent. Toyota Motor shed 0.6 percent and Honda Motor dropped 1.1 percent after reports that they have been sued by a U.S. firm for infringements.
Australian markets ended slightly lower to snap a four-day winning streak after official data showed the payroll jobs recovery slowed in early November.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index dipped 20.90 points, or 0.3 percent, to 7,384.50, while the broader All Ordinaries Index ended down 17.80 points, or 0.2 percent, at 7,689.40.
Tech and energy stocks led losses, while Sydney Airport rallied 2.9 percent after the country’s competition regulator approved its takeover.
Energy stocks snapped a four-session winning streak despite oil extending overnight gains on optimism that the Omicron coronavirus variant will not cause a significant hit to demand.
Seoul stocks extended their winning streak to the 7th straight session as concerns about the Omicron variant of the coronavirus eased two weeks after the first outbreak. The Kospi added 27.77 points, or 0.9 percent, to close at 3,029.57. Tech, steel and chemical stocks topped the gainers list.
New Zealand shares ended firmly in negative territory after sharp gains in the previous session. The benchmark NZX-50 Index dropped 96.49 points, or 0.8 percent, to 12,771.83, following a 2 percent surge on Wednesday.
Top stock Fisher & Paykel Healthcare lost 2.7 percent, while Sky Network Television rose 1.7 percent to a fresh three-year high after Tuesday’s earnings upgrade.
U.S. stocks ended higher for the third day running on Wednesday after drug makers BioNTech and Pfizer said that a third shot of their vaccine was effective at guarding against the new coronavirus strain.
The Dow ended flat with a positive bias, while the S&P 500 rose 0.3 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite added 0.6 percent.
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