The major Asia-Pacific stock indexes finished mixed on Thursday with Japan and Australia bucking the global down trend.
Overnight, Japanese shares inched higher as chip gains offset losses in cyclicals. Meanwhile Hong Kong stocks fell on weakness in the commodity sector. South Korean stocks retreated amid a weak performance on Wall Street and turmoil in the crypto currency market.
In China, stocks were mixed as resource losses offset gains in the financial sector. Australian stocks jumped more than 1%, boosted by a recovery in the financial and tech sectors.
Cash Market Performance
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 Index settled at 28098.25, up 53.80 or +0.19%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng finished at 28450.29, down 143.52 or -0.50% and South Korea’s KOSPI Index closed at 3162.28, down 10.77 or -0.34%.
In China, the benchmark Shanghai Index settled at 3506.94, down 4.02 or -0.11%. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 finished at 7019.60, up 87.90 or +1.27%.
Japanese Shares Inch Higher as Chipmakers Track Overnight Gains in US Peers
Japanese shares erased early losses on Thursday, led by chipmakers tracking overnight gains by U.S. peers, but investors refrained from making active bets awaiting fresh cues after most companies announced their earnings.
In other news, Japan’s exports grew the most since 2010 in April while capital spending perked up on surging global demand for cars and electronics, lifting hopes that an improvement in trade could help lead the world’s third-largest economy back to growth.
Also brightening the outlook, confidence among the nation’s manufacturers hit a more than two-year high in May on the back of solid overseas orders, a Reuters survey showed on Thursday.
South Korea Stocks Fall on Weak Wall Street, Fed Minutes, Crypto Turmoil
South Korean shares fell on Thursday, as they tracked overnight Wall Street losses after the U.S. Federal Reserve released its April meeting minutes, while a crash in digital currency stocks after China’s curbs on cryptocurrency trading also weighed on sentiment.
Minutes of the U.S. central bank’s last meeting said a number of Fed policymakers thought that if the economy continued rapid progress, it would be appropriate “at some point” in upcoming meetings to begin discussing tapering government bond purchases.
Australia Shares Recover on Financial, Tech Boost
Australian shares on Thursday recovered slightly from the heavy sell-off in the previous session, with bank and technology stocks leading gains, though a drop in commodity prices weighed on miners and energy sectors.
In other news, Australia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate declined to 5.5% in April, the country’s Bureau of Statistics said Thursday. That compared against expectations for a 5.6% unemployment rate in a Reuters poll.