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Asian Shares Mixed In Cautious Trading

asianmarket 021219 18jun21 lt

Asian stocks ended Friday's session on a mixed note after crude oil and bullion prices tumbled amid dollar strength. A retreat in U.S. Treasury yields helped limit regional losses, if any.

Chinese shares swung between gains and losses before ending on a flat note. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index climbed 242.68 points, or 0.9 percent, to 28,801.27.

Japanese shares ended a choppy session lower as the Bank of Japan kept its ultra-lax monetary policy intact, as widely expected, and data showed overall consumer prices in the country slipped an annual 0.1 percent in May.

The Bank of Japan maintained its massive monetary stimulus and extended the duration of the special funding program to help pandemic-hit firms.

The Nikkei 225 Index dipped 54.25 points, or 0.2 percent, to 28,964.08, while the broader Topix settled 0.9 percent lower at 1,946.56.

Financials led losses, with Dai-ichi Life Holdings plunging 5.7 percent. Banks Mizuho Financial, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial ended down between 2 percent and 2.6 percent. Automaker Toyota Motor fell 3.9 percent from a record high.

Eisai surged almost 6 percent after it reached a strategic collaboration agreement with Bristol-Myers Squibb for the co-development and co-commercialization of MORAb-202, an antibody drug conjugate.

Australian markets ended slightly higher as technology stocks followed their U.S. peers higher on optimism over the strength of the economic recovery.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index inched up 9.90 points, or 0.1 percent, to 7,368.90, while the broader All Ordinaries Index ended up 23.80 points, or 0.3 percent, at 7,624.30.

Tech heavyweight Afterpay surged 6.5 percent, while software firm Altium rallied 3 percent after announcing its business returned with double-digit growth in the second half. Xero and Wisetech Global rose about 3 percent.

Lower copper prices weighed on the mining sector, with BHP ending down 2.5 percent. Gold miners Northern Star Resources and Newcrest fell 2-3 percent as bullion prices tumbled after the Fed's hawkish surprise.

Banks also ended lower after an internet outage briefly disrupted access to several banking websites. ANZ gave up 0.9 percent and Commonwealth lost 2 percent.

Beach Energy, Oil Search, Santos and Woodside Petroleum tumbled 2-4 percent as oil extended losses for the second straight day on demand worries.

Bubs Australia soared 29.3 percent on news that its Aussie Bubs branded formulas will enter the lucrative U.S. infant formula market through the e-commerce platform of retail giants Walmart and Amazon.com.

Seoul stocks ended little changed with a positive bias amid hopes for a swift economic recovery. The Kospi average ended up 2.97 points at 3,267.93.

Battery maker Samsung SDI rallied 3.7 percent and internet portal operator Naver advanced 2.2 percent, while chipmaker SK Hynix and chemical firm LG Chem both declined around 1.6 percent.

New Zealand shares ended a choppy session little changed, with the benchmark NZX 50 Index ending up 10.73 points at 12,551.93. Flag carrier Air New Zealand ended modestly lower after warning of losses in fiscal 2021 and fiscal 2022.

U.S. stocks ended mixed overnight as investors weighed Fed guidance on interest rates and inflation. Investors also reacted to disappointing readings on weekly jobless claims and Philadelphia-area manufacturing activity.

The S&P 500 slid marginally and the Dow gave up 0.6 percent to extend losses for the fourth day and hit a one-month low. Meanwhile, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite climbed 0.9 percent to close near a record high.

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