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Asian Shares Dip On Valuation Concerns

asian martket down 121418 22feb21 lt

Asian stocks ended mostly lower on Monday amidst lingering worries about inflation and high valuations following recent strength in the markets.

Chinese stocks fell sharply on concerns over high valuations and possible policy tightening. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index tumbled 53.72 points, or 1.5 percent, to 3,642.44 despite the country's central bank leaving its benchmark lending rate for corporate and household loans unchanged for the 10th straight month on Saturday. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index ended down 324.90 points, or 1.1 percent, at 30,319.83.

Meanwhile, Japanese shares bucked the regional trend to close higher as optimism about an economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic prompted buying in cyclical stocks with cheap valuations.

Chip-related shares surged the most, with Tokyo Electron soaring 6.3 percent. Market heavyweight SoftBank Group advanced 1.7 percent

The Nikkei 225 Index rose 138.11 points, or 0.5 percent, to 30,156.03, while the broader Topix closed 0.5 percent higher at 1,938.35.

Australian markets fluctuated before ending slightly lower. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index slipped 12.90 points, or 0.2 percent, to 6,780.90, while the broader All Ordinaries Index ended down 2.40 points at 7,061.60.

A rising Aussie dollar pulled down healthcare companies, with heavyweight CSL losing 2.4 percent. Fuel refiner Ampol lost 2.7 percent after it posted a full-year loss of $485 million. Woodside Petroleum and Santos fell over 1 percent. Banks fell broadly, with Westpac losing 1.5 percent and NAB giving up 2.2 percent.

Miners BHP, Fortescue Metals Group and Rio Tinto rose between 3.2 percent and 3.6 percent as copper prices climbed above $9,000 a ton for the first time in more than nine years on concerns over a historic shortage. Copper miner OZ Minerals jumped 7 percent.

Macquarie Group climbed 3.4 percent after the investment bank raised its earnings forecast. Steelmaker Bluescope gained 2.3 percent after it reported a 78 percent surge in first-half profit.

Seoul stocks ended lower as concerns over rising inflation overshadowed strong export data. South Korea's exports rose 16.7 percent year-over-year in the first 20 days of February on strong shipments of chips and autos, customs agency data showed.

The benchmark Kospi dropped 27.87 points, or 0.9 percent, to 3,079.75 points. Celltrion and Naver fell around 3 percent, while chipmaker SK Hynix advanced 2.6 percent. Rechargeable battery maker Samsung SDI slumped 4 percent.

New Zealand shares ended lower for the fifth straight day despite Standard & Poor's raising the country's credit ratings back to a level last seen in 2009, citing the strong recovery from the Covid-19 crisis. The benchmark NZX-50 Index dropped 122.39 points, or 1 percent, to 12,426.24.

U.S. stocks ended narrowly mixed on Friday as treasury yields continued to rise and investors rotated out of technology-related companies.

Meanwhile, new Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen urged lawmakers to approve President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion relief package, saying the proposal could help the U.S. get back to full employment within a year.

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