Asia Pacific Shares

Asian Shares Mostly Higher; South Korea’s KOSPI Rallies as Samsung Shares Jump 5.4%

The major Asia Pacific stock indexes finished mixed, but mostly higher on Tuesday as investors weighed progress in U.S. government stimulus efforts against rising tensions with China and the growing coronavirus pandemic.

Investors hoping for a dovish message from the U.S. Federal Reserve this week outweighed growing concerns about how major economies in Australia, the U.K. and the United States are dealing with coronavirus outbreaks.

On Tuesday, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index settled at 22657.38, down 58.47 or -0.26%. Hong Kong Hang Seng Index closed at 24772.76, up 169.50 or +0.69% and South Korea’s KOSPI Index finished at 2256.99, up 39.13 or +1.76%.

In China, the Shanghai Composite Index settled at 3227.96, up 22.73 or +0.71% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index finished at 6020.50, down 23.70 or -0.39%.

Nikkei Ends Lower Ahead of Earnings Rush, Mitsubishi Motors Slump

Japanese shares ended lower on Tuesday as investors maintained a cautious stance ahead of corporate earnings, while Mitsubishi Motors plunged to an all-time low after the carmaker posted dismal quarterly earnings.

The index initially was buoyed by a rebound in U.S. technology shares on hopes of more fiscal stimulus from Washington. However, a weak trade provided a tailwind in the afternoon, with many investors on the sidelines ahead of a peak in Japanese earnings announcements this week and next.

Among the companies that announced quarterly results on Monday, Mitsubishi Motors tumbled 12.64% to a record low after the carmaker posted dismal sales in its key Southeast Asian market and forecast a huge loss for this financial year.

Nissan Motor fell 4.63% following a Bloomberg report that cited the automaker will forego an annual dividend this fiscal year.

On the bright side, shares of Fujifilm rose 3.1% after U.S. President Donald Trump announced Monday that the U.S. government awarded the firm a $265 million contract for coronavirus vaccine manufacturing.

South Korean, Hong Kong Stocks Edge Higher on Recovery Hopes

The South Korean KOSPI Index and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose on Tuesday, buoyed by hopes of economic and corporate earnings recovery, though concerns over a fresh wave of domestic coronavirus cases kept gains in check.

In South Korea, shares of industry heavyweight Samsung Electronics soared 5.4%, helping to lift the KOSPI. The rally was also aided by robust foreign investor buying and expectations of another U.S. stimulus package. Samsung’s gains were driven by growing expectations that the chipmaker may benefit from Intel Corp’s plan to outsource more manufacturing.

Philippine Shares Rocked by Volatility, but Still Manage to Finish Sharply Higher

Stock markets in India, Malaysia and South Korea all saw strong gains, however, the Philippines recovered from an initial crash following President Rodrigo Duterte’s State of the Nation speech to rise almost 1.0%.

In his address on Monday night, Duterte defended his approach to fighting the pandemic even as new cases continue to climb, while threatening to close or have the government take over telecom firms that he accused of “lousy” services.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

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James Hyerczyk

James A. Hyerczyk has worked as a fundamental and technical financial market analyst since 1982. His technical work features the pattern, price and time analysis techniques of W.D. Gann.