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Asian Stocks Close Mixed Amid Recession Fears

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Asian stocks turned in a mixed performance on Thursday after all three major U.S. indexes fell around 3 percent overnight on fears that a recession could be on the horizon amid prolonged U.S.-China trade tensions.

Chinese shares reversed early losses to close higher, with realty stocks gaining ground after data showed China's new home prices rose in July. Tech stocks also surged as Beijing puts more emphasis on self-reliance and developing indigenous technology.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index rose 6.88 points or 0.3 percent to 2,815.80, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index advanced 193.18 points or 0.8 percent to 25,495.46.

Meanwhile, Japanese shares closed lower as recession fears gripped markets worldwide, sending the safe-haven yen higher and weighing heavily on exporters. Financials also took a hit after the yield on 30-year U.S. government bonds fell below 2 percent for the first time.

The Nikkei 225 Index ended down 249.48 points or 1.2 percent at 20,405.65 after falling as low as 20,184.85, its lowest level since August 6th. The broader Topix index closed 1 percent lower at 1,483.85.

Automakers Toyota Motor, Nissan Motor, Honda Motor and Mazda Motor fell between 0.9 percent and 1.7 percent as the yen strengthened amid heightened risk aversion. Canon fell over 2 percent, Panasonic shed 2.6 percent and Sony declined 1.3 percent.

Among financials, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group dropped 1.1 percent and Dai-ichi Life Holdings retreated 1.6 percent.

In the tech space, Advantest and Screen Holdings ended down over 2 percent. Market heavyweight Fast Retailing fell 2 percent and energy firm Inpex declined 1.8 percent.

Australian shares plunged as signals of a recession sent shivers through world markets. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index tumbled 187.80 points or 2.9 percent to 6,408.10 amid a broad based sell-off. The broader All Ordinaries Index ended down 186.70 points or 2.8 percent at 6,490.80.

The big four banks gave up around 3 percent each, while miners BHP, Rio Tinto and South32 ended down between 2.7 percent and 4.4 percent.

A steep drop in oil prices pulled down energy stocks, with Woodside Petroleum, Origin Energy, Santos and Oil Search losing 4-7 percent.

Gold miner Evolution Mining advanced 1.6 percent and Northern Star added 1.8 percent as gold prices rebounded on safe-haven demand.

QBE Insurance fell over 1 percent despite the company reporting a 35 percent jump in its first-half fiscal 2019 cash profit.

Telecommunications giant Telstra declined 1.8 percent as it slashed its dividend after reporting a 40 percent slump in 2019 full year net profit.

Vitamin and supplement maker Blackmores slumped 14.9 percent after reporting a more than 23 percent fall in full-year profit.

On the economic front, the unemployment rate in Australia came in at a seasonally adjusted 5.2 percent in July, unchanged from the previous month and in line with expectations.

The Australian economy added 41,100 jobs last month, far surpassing expectations for a gain of 14,000 jobs following the increase of 500 jobs in June.

New Zealand shares tumbled, with the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 Index ending down 145.65 points or 1.3 percent at 10,704.11. A2 Milk Company and Vista Group dropped 2-3 percent.

Markets in South Korea and India were closed for holidays.

U.S. stocks succumbed to heavy selling pressure overnight amid concerns about an impending recession after long-dated Treasury yields inverted for the first time in 12 years.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 3.1 percent and the S&P 500 lost 2.9 percent to end at their lowest closing levels in over two months, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite tumbled 3 percent.

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