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Asian Shares Fall In Cautious Trading

stockmarkets aug16 11jan21 lt

Asian stocks fell on Monday as U.S. President Donald Trump faces another impeachment this week over the Capitol riot and investors looked for signs of improvements in earnings.

Chinese shares ended sharply lower after data showed the country's factory prices fell at the slowest pace in ten months.

Consumer prices in China were up 0.2 percent year-on-year in December, the National Bureau of Statistics said. That exceeded expectations for an increase of 0.1 percent following the 0.5 percent contraction in November.

On a monthly basis, inflation was up 0.7 percent - again beating forecasts for an increase of 0.4 percent following the 0.6 percent decline in the previous month.

The bureau also said that producer prices were down an annual 0.4 percent, beating forecasts for a fall of 0.8 percent after sinking 1.5 percent a month earlier.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index tumbled 38.61 points, or 1.1 percent, to 3,531.50, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index ended marginally higher at 27,908.22.

Ten World Health Organization scientists will visit China beginning Thursday to probe the origins of Covid-19, authorities said today.

The Japanese market was closed for a holiday. Seoul stocks edged down slightly in choppy trading as caution crept in prior to expiration of stock options later this week. The benchmark Kospi slipped 3.73 points, or 0.1 percent, to 3,148.45.

Heavyweight Samsung Electronics rose 2.5 percent to a record 91,000 won amid reports that Intel is mulling outsourcing some of its chip production. Hyundai Motor soared 8.7 percent after reports that it plans to sign a partnership deal with Apple on autonomous electric cars by March.

Australian shares fell as gold miners succumbed to selling pressure for the fourth straight session. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index dropped 60.70 points, or 0.9 percent, to 6,697.20, while the broader All Ordinaries Index ended down 64.70 points, or 0.9 percent, at 6,959.50.

Evolution Mining, Newcrest and Northern Star Resources lost 3-5 percent as gold extended losses to drop near a six-week low on a stronger dollar and higher U.S. Treasury yields on U.S. stimulus hopes.

On the positive side, Woodside Petroleum and Santos rose about 3 percent as oil prices held near a one-year high after Saudi Arabia's pledge last week to cut output. Shares of Whitehaven Coal jumped 2.9 percent.

In economic news, a government report showed the value of retail sales in Australia was up a seasonally adjusted 7.1 percent month-on-month November, coming in at A$31.654 billion. That beat expectations for an increase of 7.0 percent following the 1.4 percent gain in October.

New Zealand shares tumbled on profit taking after hitting successive record highs last week. The benchmark NZX-50 Index plunged 268.10 points, or 2 percent, to 13,290.09.

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand reported a breach of one of its data systems over the weekend after a third-party file-sharing service it uses to share and store some sensitive information was illegally accessed.

U.S. stocks closed at fresh record highs on Friday as President Trump finally conceded defeat and Biden promised relief efforts, offsetting data showing the first monthly job losses since April.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite index rallied 1 percent, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average edged up 0.2 percent and the S&P 500 gained 0.6 percent.

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