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Asian Shares Mixed Ahead Of Impeachment Vote

asianmarket 021219 13jan21 lt

Asian stocks turned in a mixed performance on Wednesday as the U.S. House pressed swiftly forward toward impeachment or other steps to forcibly remove President Donald Trump from office.

The downside, if any, remained limited amid hopes that the incoming Biden administration would ramp up U.S. distribution of coronavirus vaccines, which would allow large parts of the U.S. economy to reopen.

The Biden administration is also expected to push ahead with more fiscal support to help spur growth.

Chinese shares ended lower amid worries about a pickup in coronavirus infections in northern China and rising Sino-U.S. tensions. The benchmark Shanghai Composite index slid 9.69 points, or 0.27 percent, to 3,598.65, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index ended down 0.15 percent at 28,235.60.

Japanese shares rose for the fifth day despite reports that the government plans to expand the nation's second state of emergency to seven more prefectures.

The Nikkei average climbed 292.25 points, or 1.04 percent, to hit a 30-year high of 28,456.59. The broader Topix index closed 0.35 percent higher at 1,864.40.

Chip-related shares followed their U.S. peers higher, with Advantest and Tokyo Electron both rising over 5 percent. Renesas Electronics jumped 4.7 percent to extend recent gains.

On the flip side, film distributor Toho lost 6.7 percent after releasing its earnings outlook for the year through February.

Australian markets fluctuated before ending slightly higher for the day. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 edged up 7.50 points, or 0.11 percent, to 6,686.60, while the broader All Ordinaries index ended up 14.80 points, or 0.21 percent, at 6,953.90.

The big four banks eked out modest gains. Telecommunications and technology company Telstra rallied 2.7 percent after appointing Geraldine Kor to spearhead South Asia's business growth.

Tech stocks succumbed to selling pressure, with Afterpay losing 1.4 percent and Altium giving up as much as 6.2 percent.

Fashion retailer Premier Investments soared 12.7 percent after announcing it has nearly doubled earnings in the first half of its financial year.

Beach Energy, Santos, Woodside Petroleum and Oil Search surged 4-6 percent as oil prices hovered near 11-month highs after bigger-than-expected inventory draw.

Seoul stocks advanced to snap a two-day losing streak as large caps recovered from recent heavy declines. The benchmark Kospi edged up 22.34 points, or 0.71 percent, to 3,148.29 on retail and foreign buying amid hopes of more stimulus under the Biden administration. Chipmaker SK Hynix climbed 3.1 percent and chemical firm LG Chem jumped 4 percent.

New Zealand shares gave up early gains to end modestly lower. The benchmark NZX-50 index dropped 63.41 points, or 0.48 percent, to 13,120.28, extending losses for the third straight session.

U.S. stocks finished slightly higher overnight as the earnings season loomed and House Democrats moved to impeach President Donald Trump.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average edged up 0.2 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite rose 0.3 percent, while the S&P ended little changed with a positive bias.

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