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Asian Shares Retreat On Weak Chinese Data

asianmarket 021219 15sep21 lt

Asian stocks ended mostly lower on Wednesday, as weak Chinese data and fears over the rapid spread of the Delta strain of COVID-19 in the region overshadowed optimism over cooling U.S. inflation.

Chinese shares ended lower on worries about a slowing economy after data showed industrial output and retail sales in August grew at slowest pace in a year. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index dropped 6.38 points, or 0.2 percent, to 3,656.22.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index tumbled 469.02 points, or 1.8 percent, to 25,033.21. China Evergrande shares plunged 4.4 percent after the property giant said it is unable to sell its assets fast enough in order to repay mounting debt of $305 billion.

Japanese shares retreated from three-decade peaks hit in the previous session as a weaker than expected rebound in core machinery orders in July added to concerns about the strength of economic recovery. The Nikkei 225 Index ended down 158.39 points, or 0.5 percent, at 30,511.71, while the broader Topix closed 1.1 percent lower at 2,096.39.

Heavyweight SoftBank Group, which has exposure to Alibaba and other Chinese tech firms, plunged 5.8 percent on regulatory concerns. Murata Manufacturing shed 2.7 percent and Nitto Denko tumbled 3.3 percent, a day after Apple launched its iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro series.

Park24 plummeted 7.9 percent after the operator of parking lots posted its sixth consecutive quarterly net loss.

Australian markets fell modestly, with material stocks leading losses. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index dipped 20.30 points, or 0.3 percent, to 7,417, while the broader All Ordinaries Index ended down 17.10 points, or 0.2 percent, at 7,723.20.

Mining heavyweights Rio Tinto and BHP fell 1.9 percent and 3.5 percent, respectively, as commodity prices dipped across the board. South32, Fortescue Metals Group, Iluka Resources and OZ Minerals dropped 1-2 percent.

Energy stocks also declined despite oil prices climbing on data showing a larger than expected drawdown in crude oil inventoreis. Oil Search, Santos, Origin Energy, Beach Energy and AGL Energy lost 3-7 percent.

Brambles fell 2.1 percent to extend losses from the previous session after the logistics company announced big spending plans.

Meanwhile, Seoul stocks ended slightly higher after data showed the unemployment rate for August fell to the lowest on record, a sign of continued recovery from the pandemic.

The benchmark Kospi edged up 4.57 points, or 0.2 percent, to 3,153.40, extending gains for the fourth day running, supported by foreign buying.

Pharmaceutical giant Samsung Biologics rallied 2.5 percent, while leading chemical firm LG Chem lost 2.2 percent.

New Zealand shares ended on a flat note, with the benchmark NZX-50 Index finishing down 9.31 points at 13,099.30 ahead of Q2 GDP data due Thursday. Sky Network Television shares were in a trading halt ahead of a share consolidation.

U.S. stocks ended lower overnight as economic uncertainties and the increasing likelihood of a higher corporate tax rate overshadowed signs of easing inflation.

The Dow shed 0.8 percent to reach its lowest closing level in almost two months, while the S&P 500 dropped 0.6 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite eased half a percent.

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