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Asian Shares Retreat Amid China Evergrande Debt Woes

stockmarkets aug16 16sep21 lt

Asian stocks ended broadly lower on Thursday, with fears over China Evergrande Group's financial woes and the announcement of more government scrutiny of Macau casinos denting sentiment. Investors also awaited next week's Federal Reserve meeting for more clues on the tapering of its bond-buying programs.

China's Shanghai Composite Index tumbled 49.13 points, or 1.3 percent, to 3,607.09, with property stocks falling as Evergrande Group appeared likely to be unable to repay all of the $89 billion it owes banks and other bondholders.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index slumped 365.36 points, or 1.5 percent, to 24,667.85, hit by heavy declines in the technology and casino sectors.

Japanese shares ended lower as investors continued to take profits after a recent rally that was led by expectations for fresh economic stimulus under new political leadership. Weak exports data for August also weighed on the markets.

The Nikkei 225 Index fell 188.37 points, or 0.6 percent, to 30,323.34 after having hit a 31-year high on Monday. The broader Topix closed 0.3 percent lower at 2,090.16.

Shippers, property firms and technology heavyweights led losses, while energy stocks gained ground after a sharp jump in oil prices overnight.

Meanwhile, Australian markets rose notably as higher oil prices helped lift energy stocks. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index climbed 43.20 points, or 0.6 percent, to 7,460.20 even as data showed employment in the country fell sharply in August.

The broader All Ordinaries Index gained 36.60 points, or 0.5 percent, to finish at 7,759.80. Beach Energy, Oil Search, Santos and Woodside Petroleum all climbed over 2 percent as oil steadied near a six-week high on signs of sliding U.S. stockpiles and hopes of robust demand growth next year.

Seoul stocks ended lower to snap a four-session rally, dragged down by a slump in major tech heavyweights. The Kospi dropped 23.31 points, or 0.7 percent, to 3,130.09.

Chip giants Samsung Electronics gave and SK Hynix gave up 1.2 percent and 3.3 percent, respectively. SK Innovation tumbled 4.4 percent after its shareholders approved a proposal to separate its battery business into a new company.

New Zealand shares gave up early gains to end a tad lower as upbeat GDP data for the second quarter of 2021 added to expectations of interest rate hikes. The benchmark NZX-50 Index ended down 19.79 points, or 0.2 percent, at 13,079.51.

U.S. stocks ended firmly in positive territory overnight as oil clung to gains and data showed industrial production in the country reached pre-pandemic levels in August, despite persistent supply constraints and shutdowns related to Hurricane Ida.

The Dow rose 0.7 percent, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite rallied 0.8 percent and the S&P 500 climbed 0.9 percent.

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