Plus   Neg

Asian Shares Mixed As U.S. Covid Death Toll Surpasses 250,000

stockmarkets jan22 20nov20 lt

Asian stocks ended mixed on Friday as investors assessed recent gains in the context of surging coronavirus cases and fresh restrictions in the United States.

Traders also remained focused on the latest developments concerning a public spat between the U.S. Treasury and Federal Reserve over emergency lending facilities and the resumption of U.S. fiscal aid talks.

Chinese shares advanced on hopes for a broader economic recovery. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index rose 14.64 points, or 0.4 percent, to 3,377.73, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index ended up 94.57 points, or 0.4 percent, at 26,451.54.

Japanese shares ended lower for a third consecutive session as record daily covid-19 cases fueled concerns that officials will place new restrictions on business activity.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government raised its virus alert status to its fourth and highest level after daily coronavirus cases in Japan hit another record high on Thursday.

Data showing that the manufacturing sector in Japan continued to contract in November also dampened sentiment.

The Nikkei 225 Index fell 106.97 points, or 0.4 percent, to 25,527.37, while the broader Topix closed marginally higher at 1,727.39.

Central Japan Railway, Tokio Marine, Fast Retailing, Daikin Industries, Sompo Holdings, T&D and MS&AD Group lost 2-4 percent, while Sumco, Rakuten and Isuzu Motors rose 3-5 percent.

Air conditioner maker Daikin gave up 2.6 percent on a Nikkei report that electric vehicle maker Tesla was considering making air conditioners for homes.

Hitachi Metals surged almost 10 percent. The Nikkei reported that its parent Hitachi Ltd. had begun accepting bids for the metals company.

Australian markets fluctuated before ending slightly lower as new U.S. coronavirus infections topped 170,000 for the second time, deaths crossed 250,000 and hospitalizations set a new record for the ninth day in a row.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index slipped 8 points, or 0.1 percent, to 6,539.20, while the broader All Ordinaries Index ended down 2.80 points at 6,739.90.

QBE Insurance shed 0.9 percent after insurers lost a test case trying to knock out claims for business interruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Insurance Australia Group shares entered a trading halt as the company examines the financial impacts of the ruling and its capital requirements.

Aged-care home operator Regis Healthcare jumped more than 23 percent after rejecting a $555 million takeover bid from conglomerate Washington H. Soul Pattinson.

Regenerative medicine company Mesoblast surged 11.3 percent after it entered into an exclusive license and collaboration agreement with Swedish drug maker Novartis to manufacture and commercialize its lead drug candidate.

In economic news, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said that the total value of retail sales in Australia climbed a seasonally adjusted 1.6 percent sequentially in October, coming in at A$29.618 billion. That beat expectations for an increase of 0.3 percent following the 1.1 percent decline in September.

Seoul stocks rose for the third straight session as foreign investors extended their buying streak despite rising coronavirus cases at home and abroad and renewed lockdowns in several countries. The benchmark Kospi edged up 6.08 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,553.50, the highest level since February 1, 2018.

In South Korea, the daily caseload stayed above 300 for the third consecutive day, prompting authorities to warn of a return to touch measures to fight a third wave of mass infection.

New Zealand shares fell sharply, with the benchmark NZX 50 Index slumping 115.32 points, or 0.9 percent, to 12,441.81 as a wave of coronavirus infection gripped the United States. Retirement village operator Ryman Healthcare lost 2.5 percent after posting a drop in half-year underlying earnings.

Overnight, U.S. stocks ended in positive territory as news that Congress will resume talks for a new Covid-19 relief bill helped outweigh concerns over rising virus cases and mixed economic readings.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average edged up 0.2 percent and the S&P 500 rose 0.4 percent, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite gained 0.9 percent amid expectations that new Covid-19 lockdowns will benefit technology companies.

For comments and feedback contact: editorial@rttnews.com

Follow RTT