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Asian Shares End Mixed As Evergrande Avoids Default

asianmarket 021219 22oct21 lt

Asian stocks recouped early losses to end on a flat note Friday, as embattled developer China Evergrande Group made a bond payment just before a 30-day grace period expired.

Chinese shares ended a tad lower, with the benchmark Shanghai Composite closing down 12.18 points, or 0.3 percent, at 3,582.60.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index edged up 0.4 percent to close at 26,126.93. China Evergrande shares jumped 4.3 percent after reports it has supplied funds to pay interest on a dollar bond.

Japanese shares advanced after a survey showed factory activity growth in the country picked up in October from the previous month and the services sector expanded for the first time in 21 months.

The upside was capped by concerns about potential contagion from China Evergrande's debt crisis and uncertainties ahead of the nation's general election.

The Nikkei 225 Index rose 96.27 points, or 0.3 percent, to 28,804.85, while the broader Topix finished marginally higher at 2,002.23.

Technology shares topped the gainers list, with Tokyo Electron rising 4.4 percent and Screen Holdings climbing 5 percent. Semiconductor company Disco jumped 3 percent after posting a 71 percent spike in its first-half operating profit.

Australian markets fluctuated before ending on a flat note after a survey showed the manufacturing sector in the country expanded at a faster pace in October.

Mining heavyweights BHP and Rio Tinto fell around 2 percent as a result of plunging iron ore prices and concerns over debt defaults by Chinese property developers.

Energy stocks such as Oil Search, Santos and Woodside Petroleum lost 2-3 percent after oil extended overnight declines. A strong U.S. dollar lifted export-reliant healthcare stocks, with Healius and Ramsay Health climbing 4 percent and 2.6 percent, respectively.

Rail operator Aurizon plunged 6.2 percent after it agreed to buy Macquarie Group Ltd.'s asset management arm for 2.35 billion Australian dollars (US$1.76 billion).

Seoul stocks ended little changed with a negative bias as Evergrande's debt troubles posed a systematic risk to China's financial system. Chipmaker SK Hynix gained 2.3 percent and leading car battery firm LG Chem added 1.5 percent, while steelmaker POSCO shed 2.4 percent.

New Zealand shares ended a choppy session lower as the government set an ambitious target of fully vaccinating 90 percent of all eligible people to end coronavirus lockdowns.

The benchmark NZX-50 Index dropped 32.74 points, or 0.3 percent, to 13,093.24 in a relatively quiet session ahead of the three-day weekend. A2 Milk shares slumped 4 percent on reports the infant-formula maker is facing a second class action claim.

Overnight, U.S. stocks rose broadly on economic optimism after data showed initial jobless claims fell to a 19-month low last week and existing home sales rebounded by much more than expected in September.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite gained 0.6 percent and the S&P 500 rose 0.3 percent to extend gains for the seventh straight session and reach a new record close, while the Dow finished marginally lower.

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