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Asian Shares Mixed As Investors Digest U.S. Election Results


Asian stocks ended a choppy session on a mixed note on Wednesday as the U.S midterm election results came in line with expectations.

Democrats seized the House majority from President Donald Trump's Republican Party, a development that would give them the power to investigate Trump and help shape the nation's political agenda for the next two years.

Meanwhile, Republicans expanded their majority in the Senate, implying that the White House will still have the upper hand on getting key appointments approved.

Mainland Chinese stocks closed lower on growth concerns. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index slid 18.01 points or 0.7 percent to 2,641.34, although Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index inched up 26.73 points or 0.1 percent to 26,147.69.

China's central bank chief Yi Gang said on Tuesday that the country will not resort to strong monetary stimulus but will instead step up funding support for private firms and other parts of the economy.

Japanese shares ended a choppy session lower as the U.S. midterm election results came along expected lines. The Nikkei 225 Index swung between gains and losses before ending the session down 61.95 points or 0.3 percent at 22,085.80. The broader Topix Index closed 0.4 percent lower at 1,652.43.

Automakers came under selling pressure as trade worries persisted despite Democrats taking control of the House. Honda Motor lost 2.7 percent, Nissan Motor dropped 1.1 percent and Mazda Motor shed 0.8 percent.

Olympus Corp slumped 4.5 percent after it set aside more than $85 million for expected losses related to the U.S. Justice Department's ongoing investigation into its duodenoscopes. Mitsubishi Materials also plummeted 8.3 percent after cutting its net profit forecast for the year ending March.

On the other hand, telecommunications company Nippon Telegraph And Telephone Corp soared 4.9 percent on share buyback news.

Australian markets eked out modest gains, led by financials. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 21.70 points or 0.4 percent to 5,896.90, while the broader All Ordinaries Index ended up 0.4 percent at 5,982.

Commonwealth Bank rose 0.6 percent despite the bank posting a decline in first quarter cash profits. ANZ, NAB and Westpac rose between 0.8 percent and 1.2 percent.

Meanwhile, BHP Billiton, which is facing a 5 billion pound lawsuit from Brazilian victims of the Samarco dam collapse in Mariana, slid half a percent.

Energy stocks closed broadly lower after crude oil prices fell for a seventh straight session overnight. Online retailer Kogan.com also tumbled 3.5 percent after signaling its entry into Australia's A$2.7 trillion superannuation industry.

South Korean stocks ended a volatile session lower on concerns over the delay of the high-level talks between Washington and Pyongyang.

The benchmark Kospi dropped 10.93 points or 0.5 percent to finish at 2,078.69. Steelmakers and chemical firms led the decliners, with Posco losing 1.3 percent and LG Chem ending down 2.9 percent.

New Zealand shares rose as the U.S. midterm election results offered no major surprises. The benchmark S&P/NZX 50 Index ended up 38.37 points or 0.4 percent at 8,854.79. Z Energy shares soared 4.9 percent, while A2 Milk dropped 1.8 percent and Synlait Milk shed 4.1 percent.

The jobless rate in New Zealand came in at a seasonally adjusted 3.9 percent in the third quarter of 2018, Statistics New Zealand said today.

That was well beneath expectations for 4.4 percent and down sharply from 4.5 percent in the three months prior. It's also the lowest unemployment rate since the second quarter of 2008. Employment saw an increase of 2.8 percent year-over-year, exceeding expectations for a gain of 2.0 percent.

Overnight, U.S. stocks fluctuated before closing higher as investors awaited the outcome of midterm elections and looked ahead to the Federal Reserve's monetary policy announcement.

The Dow climbed 0.7 percent, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite Index both gained around 0.6 percent.

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