The major Asia-Pacific stock indexes finished mixed but mostly lower on Friday, buoyed by gains in China, but pressured by a cautious mood due to a resurgence of coronavirus infections in Europe and the United States.
Shares in China rose as investors snapped up banking shares due to an improving earnings outlook. Australian stocks erased early losses to trade flat. Japanese stocks edged higher, but South Korean shares lost ground.
On Friday, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index settled at 23410.63, down 96.60 or -0.41%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index finished at 24386.79, up 228.25 or +0.94% and South Korea’s KOSPI Index closed at 2341.53, down 19.68 or -0.83%.
In China, the Shanghai Index settled at 3336.36, up 4.18 or +0.13% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index finished at 6176.80, down 33.50 or -0.54%.
Australia Shares Finish Lower as Mining, Energy Stocks Fall
Australian shares edged lower on Friday, dragged down by mining stocks after Reo Tinto raised concerns about steel production outside China, with sentiment taking a hit from a resurgence in coronavirus cases in Europe.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 1.2% this week, recording its second straight weekly gain.
Shares of Reo Tinto fell 0.9% after the world’s biggest iron ore miner said steel production outside of China remains significantly down year on year while rising coronavirus cases were putting global economic growth at risk.
The Australian energy sector fell 1%, tracking lower oil prices. Sector heavyweight Santos fell 2%, while Oil Search tumbled 3%.
South Korean Shares Post Biggest Weekly Fall in Three as Global Virus Woes Weigh
South Korean shares posted their sharpest weekly fall in three on Friday as a resurgence in COVID-19 cases across Europe and the U.S., and fading hopes for a U.S. stimulus package hit sentiment.
In other news, shares of Samsung Electronics fell 0.83% and SK Hynix declined 2.07%. South Korea reported 47 new coronavirus cases as of Thursday midnight, marking the smallest daily cases since September 29.
Nikkei Falls as Coronavirus Resurgence in Europe Hits Sentiment
Japan’s Nikkei share average fell on Friday as new coronavirus curbs in Europe dimmed hopes of a swift global economic recovery, although losses were limited after Fast Retailing forecast upbeat annual earnings.
The Nikkei was helped by gains in index heavyweight Fast Retailing, which jumped more than 4.4% after the operator of casual clothing chain posted better than expected earnings.
For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.