Asia Pacific Indexes Chase Wall Street Higher in Early Trade on Friday

The major Asia Pacific stock indexes are expected to open steady to better on Friday in a cautious trade as investors react to the better-than-expected performance on Wall Street on Thursday. This follows steep losses the previous session.

Thursday Recap

The Asia-Pacific markets saw losses on Thursday, following an overnight drop on Wall Street.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell 1.82% to close at 23,311.07. Mainland Chinese stocks slipped on the day, with the Shanghai Composite down 1.72% to approximately 3223.18 while the Shenzhen Component declined 2.238% to about 12,816.61.

The Taiex in Taiwan dropped 2.54% to close at 12,264.38. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 fell 1.11% to finish its trading day at 23,087.82 while the Topix Index shed 1.08% to close at 1,626.44.

Over in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 declined 0.81% on the day to 5,875.90.

Tech Shares Led the Decline

Technology shares in Asia took a hit on Thursday, following losses seen by their counterparts stateside.

In Japan, conglomerate Softbank Group saw its stock drop 4.52%. Kakao in South Korea also fell 3.69%. In Hong Kong, shares of Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi slipped 4.84% while Tencent declined 1.75%, with the Hang Seng Tech Index falling 3.35% on the day to 7,054.28. Meanwhile, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company shares in Taiwan shed 2.42%.

Friday’s Early Forecast

Asian stocks were set to open steady to higher as a late Wall Street rally supported global sentiment although weak U.S. data and uncertainty about a stimulus package in Washington have kept a lid on confidence.

U.S. stocks ended positive in choppy trading on Thursday, led by a dogged comeback in the technology sector, having initially sold off on higher than expected unemployment claims.

In early Asian trade, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 futures rose 0.12% and Japan’s Nikkei 225 futures added 0.13%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index futures rose 0.45%.

In the U.S., Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives are working on a $2.2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package that could be voted on as soon as next week, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reiterating she is ready to negotiate on it with the White House.

Keep An Eye on South Korea

Asia Pacific investors will be keeping an eye on South Korea after stocks fell on Thursday as tensions on the Korean Peninsula reignited.

The index lost 2.59% following reports that South Korea’s defense ministry said North Korea had killed a missing official from the South earlier this week.

Traders will be watching to see if the situation gets diffused or if it escalates. Although the broad-based index fell sharply, shares of South Korean defense firm Victek soared 25.13%.

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

Asia Pacific Shares Fall as Investors Shun Riskier Assets on Rising COVID-19 Concerns

The major Asia Pacific stock indexes were broadly weaker Tuesday as possible delays in expanded U.S. stimulus and concerns about fresh pandemic lockdowns in Europe dented the recent positive sentiment towards global equity markets. South Korea’s KOSPI led losses among the region’s major markets.

In the cash market, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index settled at 23716.85, down 233.84 or -0.98% and South Korea’s KOSPI Index finished at 2332.59, down 56.80 or -2.38%.

China’s Shanghai Index settled at 3274.30, down 42.63 or -1.29% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 closed at 5784.10, down 38.50 or -0.66%.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index remained closed for a bank holiday for a second session.

China Stocks End Lower as Surge in Global Virus Cases Weigh

China stocks closed lower on Tuesday as material and transport firms dropped following worries about a surge in global cases of the novel coronavirus.

Beijing is unlikely to approve an “unfair” deal Oracle Corp and Walmart Inc said they have struck with ByteDance over the future of video-streaming app TikTok, state-backed newspaper Global Times said in an editorial.

Among sectors, only securities firms gained as investors cheered latest consolidation in the industry. The Guolian-Sinolink merger could help consolidate financial resources and promote healthy development of the securities industry, analysts at Guosen Securities said in a report.

Consumer shares erased earlier gains through losses were narrower than other sectors.

China’s cabinet on Monday issued guidelines to boost new types of consumption, including online shopping and payments, in a bid to support the recovery of the economy.

South Korean Stocks Post Worst Fall in a Month on Europe Lockdown Concerns

South Korean shares dropped nearly 2.4% on Tuesday, logging the sharpest decline in a month, as investors shunned riskier assets on concerns about new coronavirus restrictions in Europe. Both the won and the benchmark bond yield weakened.

With COVID-19 infections on the rise in Europe, countries including Denmark, Greece and England have tightened restrictions, spurring fears about fresh lockdowns that could further pressure the economy.

Most of South Korea’s market heavyweights slumped, with the two largest – Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix – falling 1.7% and 3.8%, respectively.

LG Chem, a Tesla supplier, soared as much as 5.1% ahead of the electric-car maker’s “Battery Day” event on hopes for increased battery cell purchases from Tesla.

Finally, the Bank of Korea said it sees no need to downgrade its current economic growth projections, even after the government imposed tougher social distancing measures to curb a spike in coronavirus cases in late August.

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

Asia-Pacific Markets Rocked by Plunge in Hong Kong Bank Stocks, Rising Global Virus Fears

The major Asia-Pacific stock indexes were lower on Monday, with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index leading losses. Markets in Japan were closed on Monday for a holiday. The catalysts behind the weakness were reports that some Hong Kong banks moved suspicious funds, rising COVID-19 cases and escalating tensions between the United States and China.

In the cash market on Monday, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index settled at 23950.69, down 504.72 or -2.06% and South Korea’s KOSPI Index finished at 2389.39, down 23.01 or -0.95%.

In China, the Shanghai Index settled at 3316.94, down 21.15 or -0.63% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index closed at 5822.60, down 41.90 or -0.71%.

Hong Kong Leads Losses as HSBC and StanChart Shares Tumble after Reports Show They Moved Suspicious Funds

Hong Kong-listed shares of Standard Chartered and HSBC tumbled on Monday following reports that they allegedly moved large sums of suspicious funds.

By Monday afternoon, shares of Standard Chartered tumbled 4.84%. HSBC also plunged 4.52%, trading at lows not seen in more than 25-years, according to FactSet. The moves came after the banks – among several global lenders – were identified in media reports as having allegedly moved suspicious funds over a period of nearly two decades, according to Reuters. The reports cited confidential documents submitted by banks to the U.S. government.

China Shares End Lower as Key Lending Rate Kept Steady for 5th Month

China stocks ended lower on Monday, dragged by consumer staples and financial stocks after the central bank left its benchmark lending rate unchanged, with investors taking profits after expectations of further stimulus lifted shares in the previous session.

China kept its benchmark lending rate for corporate and household loans, the loan prime rate (LPR), steady for a fifth straight month, as expected. The monthly fixing came after the People’s Bank of China kept medium-term borrowing costs unchanged, and after President Xi Jinping said China’s economy remains resilient.

South Korea Stocks Dip as Global Virus Concerns Offset Domestic Export Boost

South Korean shares ended lower on Monday as concerns over surging coronavirus cases in Europe and fading U.S. fiscal stimulus hopes offset optimism around domestic trade and virus situations.

European countries from Denmark to Greece announced new restrictions on Friday to curb surging infections in some of their largest cities, while Britain was reported to be considering a new national lockdown.

In other news, South Korea’s exports for the first 20 days of the month returned to growth for the first time since March, helped by higher microchip and car sales, data showed on Monday.

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

Asian Shares Mixed in Early Trade; Miners Lift Aussie Stocks

The major Asian stock indexes are trading mixed early in the session on Wednesday as investors awaited the Federal Reserve’s view on the economy at the end of its policy meeting, although upbeat Chinese and U.S. economic data is giving the indexes a tailwind.

Global equities markets rallied on Tuesday, first on data that showed China’s industrial output and retail sales picked up, and later on an increase in U.S. factory production.

At 01:34 GMT, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index is trading 23425.55, down 29.34 or -0.13%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index is at 24732.76, unchanged and South Korea’s KOSPI Index is trading 2439.21, down 4.37 or -0.18%.

In China, the Shanghai Index is trading 3294.96, down 0.72 or -0.02% and in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 Index is at 5939.60, up 44.80 or +0.76%.

Nikkei Struggles after Japan Exports Tumble

Japan’s exports slumped 14.8% in August from a year earlier, down for the 21st straight month, Ministry of Finance data showed on Wednesday, underlining the coronavirus pandemic’s heavy hit to global demand. That compared with a 16.1% decline expected by economists in a Reuters poll and followed a 19.2% fall in July.

Imports dropped 20.8% in the year to August, compared with the median estimate of an 18.0% decline.

The trade balance came to a surplus of 248.3 billion Japanese Yen ($2.36 billion), against the median estimate of a 37.5 billion Japanese Yen deficit.

Australia Shares Rise on Miners, Tech Boost

Australian shares gained on Wednesday as miners rallied for a third straight session and tech stocks tracked their Wall Street peers higher, with investors hoping that the U.S. Federal Reserve will stick to its supportive policy stance.

The tech index added as much as 2.5% to be the top percentage gainer after its U.S. counterpart ended more than 1% higher overnight, while export-reliant miners were the biggest boost to the benchmark index.

Miners began their jump this week after upbeat Chinese data on Tuesday, with global giants BHP Group and Rio Tinto gaining 1.6% and 2%, respectively.

Apple Supplier Shares Mixed

Apple supplier stocks in the region were mixed in the Wednesday morning trade. Apple Inc retraced earlier gains after its product event, which included the roll-out of a new virtual fitness service and a bundle of its subscriptions into Apple One. The stock, which often dips after a run-up prior to the event, closed up 0.2%. This was well off its intra-day high.

In Japan, shares of Apple supplier Murata Manufacturing rose 0.26% while Sharp gained 0.3%. South Korea’s LG Display, on the other hand, slipped 0.62%.

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

Asia-Pacific Shares Higher Across the Board; Japan’s SoftBank Jumps More than 10%

The major Asia-Pacific stock indexes are trading higher on Monday, boosted by hopes of a coronavirus vaccine, acquisition news and politics. However, sentiment remained cautious ahead of a big week of central bank meetings in the U.K., Japan and the United States.

In the cash market on Monday, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index is trading 23542.51, up 136.02 or +0.58%. South Korea’s KOSPI Index is at 2424.14, up 27.45 or +1.15% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index is at 24667.61, up 164.30 or +0.67%.

In China, the Shanghai Index is trading 3267.13, up 6.78 or +0.21% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index is at 5879.30, up 19.90 or +0.34%.

Coronavirus Vaccine Hopes Rekindled as AstraZeneca Resumes Phase-3 Trial

AstraZeneca said on the weekend it has resumed British clinical trials of its COVID-19 vaccine, one of the most advanced in development, after getting the green light from safety watchdogs.

The late-stage trials of the experimental vaccine, developed with researchers from the University of Oxford, were suspended last week after an illness in a study subject in Britain, casting doubts on an early rollout.

A vaccine has long been awaited to help pull the world out of a coronavirus-induced lockdown. Friday marked six months since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus a pandemic on March 11.

Nvidia to Buy Chip Designer Arm for $40 Billion as SoftBank Exits

Nvidia will buy UK-based chip designer Arm from Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp for as much as $40 billion, the companies said on Monday, in a deal set to reshape the global semiconductor landscape.

Nvidia will pay SoftBank $21.5 billion in shares and $12 billion in cash, including $2 billion on signing. The deal will see SoftBank and its $100 billion Vision Fund, which has a 25% in Arm, take a stake in Nvidia of between 6.7% and 8.1%.

Shares of Japan’s SoftBank Group soared 10.26% in Monday afternoon trading.

Japan’s Suga Poised to Win Party Race, Headed for Premiership

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, a longtime loyal aide of outgoing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, was poised to win a ruling party leadership election on Monday, virtually ensuring that he replaces Abe this week in the nation’s top job.

Suga, who has said he would pursue Abe’s key economic and foreign policies, is expected to get the bulk of votes from 394 Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) lawmakers and is likely to win a majority of 141 votes from the party’s local chapters.

Suga was on track to win over 70% of the MP’s votes and was leading among local chapters, public broadcaster NHK reported.

China Stocks Rise as STAR Market Shines on Regulatory Nod to Launch ETFs

Chinese shares rose on Monday, with Shanghai’s NASDAQ-style STAR Market leading gains after securities regulator approved the first batch of exchange-traded funds (ETFs), which are expected to draw fresh funds into the market.

Financial sector climbed up marginally after China issued new rules on Sunday to regulate financial holding companies, in its latest move to prevent systematic risks to the nation’s vast financial sector.

In other news, sources told Reuters that ByteDance abandoned the sale of TikTok in the United States on Sunday in pursuit of a partnership with Oracle Corp that it hopes will spare it a U.S. ban while appeasing China’s government.

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

Asia-Pacific Markets – Mixed but Mostly Higher; China’s Gains Not Enough to Offset Steep Weekly Losses

The major Asia-Pacific stock indexes finished mixed but mostly higher on Friday with Australian shares losing ground. China gained on Friday, but posted its biggest weekly drop in eight as U.S.-China tensions weighed on prices.

Hong Kong shares eked out a gain on a tech share rebound. South Korea stocks reversed earlier losses to end flat on big retail buying. Japan’s Nikkei gained as coronavirus fears eased in Tokyo and Australian shares ended near a 2-1/2 month low on worries about virus curbs.

In the cash market on Friday, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index settled at 23406.49, up 171.02 or +0.74%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index finished at 24503.31, up 189.77 or +0.78% and South Korea’s KOSPI Index closed at 2396.69, up 0.21 or +0.01%.

In China, the Shanghai Index settled at 3260.35, up 25.52 or +0.79% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index finished at 5859.40, down 49.10 or -0.83%.

China Shares Post Biggest Weekly Drop in Eight as U.S.-China Rift Weighs

Chinese shares recovered lost ground to end higher on Friday, though the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index posted its biggest weekly drop in eight as Beijing’s rift with Washington had investors sticking to safer assets.

Meanwhile, U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday the deadline set for Chinese company ByteDance to sell its popular short-video app TikTok’s U.S. assets would not be extended. ByteDance has been looking to pick a buyer so it can finalize a deal by mid-September and comply with Trump’s order to divest TikTok’s assets.

Hong Kong Shares Eke Out Gains on Tech Rebound

Hong Kong shares bounced on Friday, as investors snapped up tech stocks hit by this week’s sell-off, though the benchmark index ended lower for the week as economic worries and U.S.-China tensions continued to weigh on sentiment.

Gains were driven by a rebound in tech shares, which have suffered this week following a sell-off in U.S. technology shares.

South Korean Stocks Reverse Course to End Flat on Big Retail Buying

South Korean shares recouped all losses to close a little better than unchanged on Friday, finishing the week with a gain of over 1%, as more buying by retail investors offset weakness due to a rout in U.S. tech stocks and a rise in domestic cases of COVID-19.

Nikkei Gains as Coronavirus Fears Ease in Tokyo

Japanese shares rose to one-week highs on Friday, tracking U.S. futures higher, after the capital city of Tokyo dropped its coronavirus alert by one notch from the highest level as infections continue to decline.

Market participants said active buying on special quotation fixing to settle September Nikkei futures and options contributed to the rebound into positive territory.

Australian Shares End at a Near 2-1/2-Month Low on Worries about Virus Curbs

Australian shares closed at their lowest in nearly two-and-a-half months on Friday as hopes that the coronavirus curbs would ease soon were dashed after state leaders defended regional lockdowns and internal border closures.

Denting sentiment further were souring diplomatic ties with biggest trading partner China, with Beijing accusing the Australian embassy in China of obstructing law enforcement by sheltering two journalists wanted for questioning.

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

Asia-Pacific Stocks Finish Mixed; Yum China Falls After Hong Kong Debut

The major Asia Pacific stock indexes finished mixed with some snapping their longest losing streaks since February on Thursday. For the buyers, the catalyst was a rebound on Wall Street. For the bears, the recent correction didn’t take prices low enough and stocks remain overvalued especially in the tech sector. They cited weak performances in the currency, commodity and bond markets as reasons to remain cautious about the outlook for risk sentiment.

In the cash market on Thursday, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index settled at 23235.47, up 202.93 or +0.88%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index finished at 24313.54, down 156.39 or -0.64% and South Korea’s KOSPI Index closed at 2396.48, up 40.67 or +0.87%.

In China, the Shanghai Index settled at 3234.82, down 19.80 or -0.61% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 finished at 5908.50, up 29.90 or +0.51%.

China Stocks Shed Early Gains as Regulators Move to Curb Speculation

China shares shed early gains to end lower on Thursday, as more than 300 start-ups slumped earlier in the session after regulators moved to curb speculation on the tech-heavy ChiNext board.

Shares in China’s start-up firms plunged as investors retreated after a few stocks were suspended from trading due to “abnormal volatility” amid reports of government measures to crack down on speculation.

The start-up board ChiNext Composite Index, which gained more than 40% this year, fell 1.6% and Shanghai’s tech-focused STAR50 Index lost 1.38%. More than 300 start-ups dropped more than 10% on Thursday, including 50 companies hitting their downside trading limits.

Shares of Chinese telecom firms also tumbled, as pressure widened for Huawei Technologies with major suppliers expected to stop applying to the telecom giant after new U.S. restrictions.

Hong Kong Shares Track Mainland Stocks Lower as China Start-Ups Drag

Hong Kong shares retreated in the afternoon session to finish lower on Thursday, tracking broad weakness in the mainland market dragged down by a slump in China’s start-up stocks.

Yum China Holdings Inc dropped as much as 6.3% on its Hong Kong market debut, bucking the recent trend of first day pops for local listings with global markets’ volatility weighing on investor sentiment.

Australian Shares End Higher on Hopes of Easing in Virus Curbs

Australian shares closed higher on Thursday as a decline in daily cases in COVID-19 hot spot Victoria boosted hopes of an easing in restrictions.

A dip in daily infections in Victoria to double-digits in the recent days and the Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt’s urge to lift the state’s night curfew, if not imposed on medical grounds, stirred hopes of a relaxation in curbs.

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

European Shares Dragged Down by Weak US Tech Sector; Asia-Pacific Markets Dodge the Tech Rout

Global equity markets finished mixed on Tuesday with the major Asia-Pacific shares rising and European shares retreating as tech shares continued to struggle. Geopolitical tensions remained at the forefront with Asian traders worried about relations between the United States and China and European investors expressing concerns over Brexit. Domestic growth data also influenced risk sentiment as well as further weakness in the tech sector.

In the cash market on Tuesday, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index settled at 23274.13, up 184.18 or +0.80. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index finished at 24624.34, up 34.69 or +0.14% and South Korea’s KOSPI Index closed at 2401.91, up 17.69 or +0.74%.

In China, the Shanghai Index settled at 3316.42, up 23.83 or +0.72% and in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 Index finished at 6007.80.

Asia-Pacific Influences

Investors continued to monitor geopolitical developments after China accused the U.S. of “bullying” as it launched a global data security initiative on Tuesday.

That development came as the U.S. continues to pressure China’s largest tech firms and convince countries around the world to block them. U.S. President Donald Trump also recently entertained the idea of “decoupling” from China, or refusing to do business with the country.

In economic news, Japan’s revised GDP figures for the April-June quarter showed the country’s economy shrinking at an annualized 28.1%, according to second preliminary estimates released by the Cabinet Office. It was worse than preliminary estimates released in mid-August, which had shown the country’s economy shrinking 27.8% on an annualized basis in April-June.

In stock news, shares of Chinese bottled water firm Nongfu Spring surged more than 80% from their issue price in their debut in Hong Kong. The stock later pared some of those gains, but still gained more than 50% by the market close.

European Market Influences

European shares fell on Tuesday as steep declines in the dominant U.S. tech sector continue to weigh on investor sentiment.

In the cash market at 12:52 GMT, the UK’s FTSE 100 Index is trading 5888.16, down 49.24 or -0.83%. Germany’s DAX Index is at 12887.63, down 212.65 or -1.62% and France’s CAC 40 Index is trading 4947.99, down 105.25 or -2.22%.

In economic news, revised data showed that second-quarter Euro Zone GDP contracted by 14.7% year-on-year and 11% from the previous quarter, less than initial estimates but still its sharpest decline on record.

In geopolitical news, back in Europe, the U.K. is planning to ramp up its preparations to leave the European Union without a deal if no free trade accord can be reached this week.

The Financial times reported that Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government intends to legislate to override aspects of the Withdrawal Agreement it signed in January, with the EU warning Monday that there will be no deal if this course of action is pursued.

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

Asian Shares Mostly Lower; Hong Kong Shares of China’s SMIC Drop; SoftBank Loses Big on Bad Tech Trades

The major Asia-Pacific stock indexes finished mixed on Monday, but mostly lower, led by a steep drop in China shares. The catalyst behind the sell was rising tech tensions between Washington and Beijing.

China and Hong Kong stocks were especially hit hard after a U.S. official said it was considering adding Hong Kong-listed Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp to a trade blacklist. Additionally, shares in Japan dropped following a decline in Wall Street shares on Friday while SoftBank Group sank as news revealed it had made massive bets on U.S. technology shares just as a rally in the sector cooled off.

In the cash market on Monday, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index settled at 23089.05, down 115.48 or -0.50%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index finished at 24589.65, down 105.80 or -0.43% and South Korea’s KOSPI Index closed at 2384.22, up 15.97 or +0.67%.

In China, the Shanghai Index settled at 3292.59, down 62.78 or -1.87% and in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 finished at 5944.80, up 19.30 or +0.33%.

Hong Kong Shares of China’s SMIC Plunge as Trump Considers Adding Firm in Blacklist

The Trump administration is considering whether to add China’s top chipmaker SMIC to a trade blacklist, a Defense Department official said Friday, as the United States escalates a crackdown on Chinese companies.

The stock was the fifth most actively traded by turnover in early trade. Its Shanghai-listed shares fell as much as 11%.

SMIC is seen as an important player in China’s ambition to grow its domestic semiconductor industry. The potential move by Washington, first reported by Reuters, would mark a major escalation in the tech battle between the U.S. and China.

Nikkei Dips as SoftBank Group Tumbles after NASDAQ Rout

Japan’s Nikkei average dipped on Monday following a fall in Wall Street shares. The selling was led by SoftBank Group, which sank on the news it had made massive bets on U.S. technology stocks just before Thursday’s and Friday’s steep declines. Concerns about high valuations sent Wall Street’s tech-heavy NASDAQ sharply lower during the last two sessions, its biggest setback after almost six months of strong gains.

SoftBank Group sank 6.6% to a two-month low. The company made significant option purchases during the run-up in the U.S. stock market in recent weeks as a way of temporarily investing some proceeds from asset sales, people familiar with the matter said on Friday.

China Says August Exports Beat Expectations, Jumping 9.5% from a Year Ago

China’s dollar-denominated exports beat expectations to rise 9.5% for the month of August from a year ago, data from the country’s General Administration of Customs showed on Monday.

Meanwhile, China’s dollar-denominated imports in August fell 2.1% from a year ago.

Economists polled by Reuters had expected exports to have climbed 7.1% in August from a year ago compared with a 7.2% rise in July, while imports were expected to climb 0.1% in August from a year ago, reversing a 1.4% decline in July.

China posted a trade surplus of $58.93 billion for the month of August, beating the $50.50 billion economists had expected. China’s trade surplus was $62.33 billion in July. The growth was the fastest pace in one-and-a-half years, according to Reuters records.

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

Asia Pacific Shares Plunge after Wall Street Rout; Aussie Shares Plummet Over 3%

The major Asia-Pacific stock indexes were pummeled on Friday, with many hitting multi-week lows, after a steep sell-off on Wall Street unnerved investors ahead of a key U.S. jobs report at 12:30 GMT. U.S. indexes marked their biggest one-day plunge since June on Thursday on the back of furious profit-taking, while analysts worry a disappointing non-farm payrolls report could deepen the selling.

In the cash market on Friday, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index settled at 23205.43, down 260.10 or -1.11%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index finished at 24695.45, down 312.15 or -1.25% and South Korea’s KOSPI Index closed at 2368.25, down 27.65 or -1.15%.

China’s Shanghai Index settled at 3355.37, down 29.61 or -0.87% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index finished at 5925.50, down 187.10 or -3.06%.

Tech Stocks in Play

Technology stocks in the Asia Pacific Region followed their U.S. counterparts lower on Friday.

Shares of Apple suppliers in Asia declined, with Sharp and Murata Manufacturing in Japan slipping 0.65% and 1.56%, respectively. Shares of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company also declined 1.61%. AAC Technologies in Hong Kong dropped 2.14%.

Chinese tech stocks listed in Hong Kong also came under pressure. Tech behemoth Alibaba saw its stock in the city drop 3.59% while Tencent also slipped 3% and Meituan Dianping dipped 0.3%. It came as the Hang Seng Tech Index fell 1.53% on the day to 7,588.02.

Australia Shares See Worst Day in Four Months after Wall Street Tech Rout

Australian shares fell on Friday by their most in four months, after a sharp sell-off in technology stocks sent Wall Street’s main indexes to their worst session since June. For the week, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 2.4%, marking its biggest weekly decline since June 12.

Tech stocks were the hardest hit on the Australian benchmark, falling 5.6% in their biggest daily loss since March 23. Buy-now-pay-later firm Afterpay plunged 6.7%, while Xero eased 5.7%.

BHP Group eased 3.8% and dragged miners to a near two-month low as iron ore futures in China snapped a six-session rally.

Financials and healthcare stocks also declined 3% and 3.8%, respectively.

On the data front, Australia’s retail turnover rose 3.2% on a seasonally adjusted basis in July, according to figures released Friday from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. That followed the June quarter gross domestic product figures released earlier this week that showed the country officially entering a recession.

Adding to woes, Australia’s Victoria state reported a record 59 deaths on Friday, including previously unrecorded deaths in aged care facilities, while authorities suggested restrictions in the state may remain even after the current six-week lockdown comes to an end.

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

Asia-Pacific Shares Mixed; Foreign Buyers Drive South Korean Chipmakers Higher

The major Asia-Pacific stock indexes finished mixed on Thursday as investors reacted to regional economic releases while awaiting Friday’s U.S. Non-Farm Payrolls report that should shed a little more light on the state of the U.S. labor market. The biggest gain for the session took place in South Korea, while the Shanghai Index in China posted the biggest low.

In the cash market on Thursday, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index settled at 23465.53, up 218.38 or +0.94. South Korea’s KOSPI Index finished at 2395.90, up 31.53 or +1.33% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index closed at 24995.10, down 124.99 or -0.50%.

In China, the Shanghai Index settled at 3384.98, down 19.82 or -0.58 and in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 Index finished at 6112.60, up 49.40 or +0.81%.

China’s Services Sector Sustains Recovery as Hiring Picks Up

The recovery in China’s service sector activity extended into a fourth straight month in August, an industry survey showed on Thursday, with companies hiring more people for the first time since January.

The Caixin/Markit services’ Purchasing Managers’ Index slipped to 54.0 from July’s 54.1, dipping for the second month after June’s decade high, but staying above the 50-mark that separates monthly growth from contraction.

Firms started to hire more in August after six months of layoffs, indicating some recovery in a labor market that has been hit hard by sharp falls in demand and epidemic restrictions earlier in the year.

“The ongoing resumption of work and normalization of market demand continued to promote the post-epidemic economic recovery,” said Wang Zhe, Senior Economist at Caixin Insight Group.

Australian Trade Data Suggests Economy Still on Shaky Ground

A drop in exports and a weakening construction sector suggests the economy is still on shaky ground after collapsing into recession as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Exports fell sharply in July after being one of the rare bright spots during the economy’s record 7.0 percent crash during the June quarter.

Australian Bureau of Statistics data on Thursday showed the international trade balance of goods and services surplus almost halved in July to $4.6 billion from $8.1 billion in June.

This was the result of a four percent drop in exports in the month, compared to a seven percent surge in imports.

South Korea Stocks Jump Over 1% as Chipmakers Rally

South Korean shares rose more than 1% on Thursday and extended gains to a third straight session as strong foreign buying powered local chip stocks. Both the won and the benchmark bond yield weakened.

Chip giant Samsung Electronics Co Ltd ended 3.7% higher, trading a surge in the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index, after Nvidia Corp’s announcement on its new gaming chips in collaboration with Micron Technology Inc and Samsung.

Further boosting sentiment, South Korea’s government announced a plan to create a 20 trillion won ($16.84 billion) fund over the next five years for President Moon Jae-in’s “New Deal” program.

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

Asian Shares Higher in Early Trade after Private China PMI Data; Aussie Traders Await RBA Policy Decisions

The major Asia Pacific stock indexes are trading mixed but mostly higher at the mid-session on Tuesday after a private survey showed Chinese manufacturing activity in August expanding at its fastest pace in nearly 10 years.

Earlier in the session, Asian stocks traded lower following a softer performance on Wall Street while the U.S. Dollar slipped as markets digested new Federal Reserve comments that suggested rates will stay low for an extended period.

Private Survey Shows China’s Manufacturing Sector Expanded in August

Results of a private survey on Tuesday showed China’s manufacturing activity expanded in August at the fastest pace in nearly a decade.

The Caixin/Markit manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) came in at 53.1 for August, compared to 52.8 in July. Economists polled by Reuters had expected Caixin/Markit manufacturing PMI to come in at 52.7.

The expansion in August was the fastest since January 2011, Caixin and IHS Markit said in their joint report.

“Manufacturing demand and supply continued to recover, and overseas demand started to pick up,” wrote Wang Zhe, a senior economist at Caixin Insight Group.

In August, “the subindices for output and total new orders again hit their highest levels since January 2011,” the report said. The gauge for new export orders also entered expansionary territory for the first time this year, as the coronavirus outbreak slowed overseas, added Wang.

On Monday, China’s National Bureau of Statistics reported that official manufacturing PMI for the month of August came in at 51.0, slightly missing analysts’ expectations for a 51.2 reading.

Japan Economic Releases

Japan’s Unemployment Rate came in at 2.9%, higher than the previous month, but better than the forecast. Capital Spending fell 11.3%, much worse than the -4.0% forecast. Final Manufacturing PMI improved to 47.2, up from 46.6 and better than forecast.

Dollar Dump Continues, Aussie Traders Look Toward RBA Decisions

The U.S. Dollar fell toward multi-year lows against most major currencies on Tuesday as the Federal Reserve’s new policy framework continued to fuel bets that U.S. rates will stay lower for longer than other countries.

The Australian Dollar held around a two-year high against the greenback as traders wait for news from a Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) policy meeting later on Tuesday to gauge policymakers’ views on the economy.

The RBA is not expected to make any major changes at a policy meeting on Tuesday, but traders want to see how central bankers assess the economic outlook as the country grapples with a recent increase in coronavirus cases.

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

Asia Pacific Shares: Nikkei Tumbles After Japan PM Abe Confirms Resignation

The major Asia Pacific stock indexes were mixed on Friday as investors continued to assess the impact of recent developments from the U.S. Federal Reserve. The price action across the board suggests investors are worried about a lack of detail in the new Fed policy shift while Japanese investors were roiled as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe resigned for health reasons.

In the cash market on Friday, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index settled at 23882.65, down 326.21 or -1.41%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index finished at 25422.06, up 140.91 or +0.56% and South Korea’s KOSPI Index closed at 2353.80, up 9.35 or +0.40%.

Fed Makes Major Policy Shift

U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell announced Thursday a major policy shift by the U.S. Central bank to “average inflation targeting.” That means the Fed will allow inflation to run “moderately” above the central bank’s 2% goal “for some time” after periods when it has run below that objective.

The Fed also adjusted is view of full employment to allow gains in the labor market to run more broadly. That indicated that the central bank will be less inclined to raise interest rates when the unemployment rate falls, as long as inflation does not creep up as well.

Stocks initially jumped as investors bet interest rates would remain low for longer and more stimulus was likely. But share markets have since been choppy, with some traders disappointed that the Fed did not reveal more details about how the new framework will work or provide any clues as to what it will do at its next policy meeting.

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Confirms Resignation Over Health Concerns

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has confirmed that he will step down due to worsening health, bringing an early end to his stint as the longest-serving premier of the world’s third-largest economy.

In response to the news, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index closed 1.4% lower on Friday, while the Japanese Yen strengthened against the dollar, trading 105.800.

Abe, who suffers from a chronic inflammatory bowel disease, told reporters during a televised press conference that his health started declining around the middle of last month. He confirmed his resignation saying he did not want his illness to result in any policy mistakes.

Abe has sought to revive Japan’s lackluster economy through a policy package dubbed Abenomics. He said Friday that the economic policy had succeeded in boosting jobs, and brought an end to 20 years of deflation.

China Shares Rise on Upbeat Economic Data, Listing Momentum

 

The Chinese stock market climbed Friday, with blue-chip shares clocking their best week in four, as sentiment was supported by improving economic data and a slew of new listings. Stocks clung on to momentum this week that was fueled by upbeat data showing improving industrial profits and a surge in the startup Chinext board.

Hong Kong Stocks Touch One-Month High on Economic Recovery Hopes

Hong Kong’s stock market rose on Friday, reaching its highest in over a month at one point, on expectations that global monetary policy will remain supportive and the spread of COVID-19 will further slow in the financial hub.

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

Asia Pacific Stocks Stumble; Alibaba’s Hong Kong Shares Jump

Most major Asia Pacific stock indexes are set to finish lower on Wednesday after reversing earlier gains. Shares in mainland China led losses among the regional indexes. Over in New Zealand, trading on the country’s stock exchange was halted earlier on Wednesday following a potential second cyber-attack, Reuters reported citing the New Zealand Stock Exchange.

In the cash market on Wednesday, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index settled at 23290.86, down 5.91 or -0.03%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index finished at 25452.73, down 33.49 or -0.13% and South Korea’s KOSPI Index closed at 2369.32, up 2.59 or +0.11%.

In China, the Shanghai Index settled at 3329.74, down 43.84 or -1.30% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 finished at 6116.40, down 45.00 or -0.73%.

Ant Group Files for Hong Kong-Shanghai IPO

Ant Group, an affiliate of Alibaba, has given the first look at its financials ahead of its highly-anticipated initial public offering (IPO), in a document filed on Tuesday.

The financial technology powerhouse, which is still controlled by Alibaba founder Jack Ma, reported profit of 21.9 billion Chinese Yuan ($3.2 billion) on total revenues of 72.5 billion Yuan in the first half of the year, according to the exchange filing.

That represented a more than 1000% jump in profits from the same period a year ago, when the company raked in 1.9 billion Yuan. Revenues were also up significantly, climbing about 38% from the 52.5 billion Yuan the firm made in the first half of 2019.

The company has not yet disclosed details about the pricing of its shares. But one analyst previously told CNBC that its market valuation could be north of $200 billion, making it larger than some of America’s biggest banks.

New Zealand Stock Exchange NZX Hit by Probable Second Cyber Attack

Trading on New Zealand’s stock exchange was halted on Wednesday after a likely second cyber-attack, bourse operator NZX said.

NZX was working with its network service provider to fix further connectivity issues which appeared similar on Tuesday’s breakdown caused by a cyberattack, it said in a statement.

Wednesday’s disruption follows a halt in its cash market Tuesday evening after a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack impacted network connectivity. The attack was from offshore, the company said.

Australia Shares Slip on Rising Virus Death Toll

Australian shares snapped two straight sessions of gains on Wednesday as risk sentiment was hit by the rising coronavirus death toll in the country’s second-most populous state, although additional stimulus and hopes for a local vaccine capped losses.

Victoria recorded its second-deadliest COVID-19 daily death toll on Wednesday, while the state government’s intention to extend a state of emergency of another year also weighed on the market.

The benchmark stock index cut some of its losses after the government announced fresh stimulus by way of A$1 billion ($719.20 million) in defense spending to grow the military and support employment.

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

Phase One Trade Deal Optimism Lifts Asia-Pacific Shares

The major Asia-Pacific stock indexes finished mixed but mostly higher on Tuesday after the U.S. and China indicated progress in trade talks, and as hopes of new coronavirus treatments boosted broader sentiment among global investors.

The upbeat sentiment in Asia on Tuesday followed reports that top U.S. and Chinese officials see progress in resolving concerns around the Phase 1 trade deal reached between the two countries in January, Reuters reported.

The markets have also been supported by broader optimism about medical solutions to end the coronavirus pandemic. U.S. regulators on Sunday authorized the use of blood plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients as a treatment option, helping the S&P 500 1% higher to another record close overnight.

In the cash market on Tuesday, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index settled at 23296.77, up 311.26 or +1.35%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index finished at 25486.22, down 65.36 or -0.26% and South Korea’s KOSPI Index closed at 2366.73, up 36.90 or +1.58%.

China’s Shanghai Index settled at 3373.58, down 12.06 or -0.36% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 finished at 6161.40, up 31.80 or +0.52%.

Global Airline Shares Jump

Shares of airlines in the Asia Pacific region rose on Tuesday, following their counterparts in the United States. The move was driven by the positive coronavirus developments.

In Hong Kong, shares of China Eastern Airlines jumped 4% while China Southern Airlines surge 5.19%. Similar gains were seen in Japan, where ANA Holdings soared 7.18%. Meanwhile in Singapore, Singapore Airlines added 3.26%.

South Korean Stocks See Biggest Gain in a Month on Trade Hopes

South Korean shares posted their sharpest gain in nearly a month, after the United States and China indicated progress in their trade talks and daily COVID-19 infections in the country eased from their peaks.

Top U.S. and Chinese officials see progress on resolving issues over the Phase 1 trade deal reached in January and both sides are committed to the success of the agreement, the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office said.

South Korea reported 280 new infections as of midnight Monday, a drop in daily new cases from 397 as of Saturday midnight.

In other news, the Bank of Korea is expected to keep interest rates on hold on Thursday as it weighs concerns about rising household debt and property taxes.

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

Scentre Group Posts AU$3.6 Billion Loss in H1 as COVID-19 Pandemic Bites

Scentre Group, the owner of Westfield-branded shopping malls in Australia and New Zealand, reported an interim loss of AU$3.6 billion in the first half of 2020 amid rising concerns given the negative effects of COVID-19 crisis and the impact on tenants’ ability to pay rent.

The owner of over 40 Westfield malls said it also took AU$232.1 million credit charge relating to COVID-19. Overall revenue slumped 16% to AU$1.1 billion and funds from operations plunged 46% to AU$361.9 million.

Scentre reported a net loss for the six months to June 30 from a net profit of AU$740 million in the year-ago period, due to AU$4.1 billion downward revaluation of its assets.

For the six-month period, the Group collected 70% of gross rental billings and for the months of June and July 2020, gross rental billings collections were over 80%. In-store sales, Scentre’s retail partners were impacted by the pandemic and the associated restrictions on people movement.

In-store sales for the retail partners that traded throughout the six-month period were 8.1% lower compared to the previous corresponding six-month period in 2019. Speciality in-store sales were 12.1% lower for the six-month period compared to the previous corresponding period.

Scentre Group’s shares gained about 4% to AU$2.09 on Tuesday. However, the stock is down over 40% so far this year.

Executive comments

“As customers are returning to our centres, more than 93% of retail stores are open across the portfolio (excluding our Victorian centres). Portfolio occupancy was 98.8% at the end of June 2020. We launched Westfield Plus, our membership customer engagement platform, at Westfield Newmarket in New Zealand in late 2019 and recently introduced the program in Australia. We now have more than 500,000 members on Westfield Plus and this continues to grow,” Scentre Group CEO Peter Allen said.

“The shopping centre industry has provided over AU$1.6 billion of support for retailers during the pandemic. Our industry is unique in that it has provided, and self-funded, a level of financial support beyond any other industry as well as most government pandemic support packages. We have agreed arrangements with 2,438 of our 3,600 retail partners, including 1,624 SME retail partners,” Allen added.

Scentre stock forecast

Morgan Stanley target price is AU$2.71 with a high of AU$3.95 under a bull-case scenario and AU$1.70 under the worst-case scenario. Other equity analysts also recently updated their stock outlook. Jefferies lowered their price target to $2.00 from $2.28; retained ‘Hold’ rating.

We think it is good to hold for now as 50-day Moving Average and 100-200-day MACD Oscillator signals a selling opportunity.

Analyst view

“We believe Scentre Group is better placed to recover from a COVID-19 world than other retail-dominant REITs. Across its portfolio, its malls are located in wealthier areas (by house price), with stronger incomes, and among the highest median population densities in surrounding areas,” said Simon Chan, equity analyst at Morgan Stanley.

“Its discretionary bias means that it is more leveraged to the well-being of consumers than other portfolios. However, we have factored for this by assuming that rent after COVID-19 will be reset to 15% lower, allowing for an economic decline. In our view, what’s priced in is worse than we think our analysis justifies,” he added.

Upside and Downside risks

Upside: 1) A sustained recovery in speciality retail sales, to 3-4% p.a. 2) A pickup in development activities, including third-party activity. 3) Strong recovery trajectory after COVID-19 issues – highlighted by Morgan Stanley.

Downside: 1) Rise in Interest rates at both at the short and long end of the curve. 2) Further deterioration in the shopping habits of consumers – towards omni-channels. 3) Retailers continuing to rationalise store networks. 4) Prolonged COVID-19 impact.

Asia-Pacific Shares Boosted by COVID-19 Treatment Hopes; Cautious Tone Ahead of Powell Speech

The major Asia-Pacific stock indexes finished higher across the board on Monday led by a surge in newly listed stocks on China’s NASDAQ-style ChiNext, however, the gains suggest investors bought with caution as they continued to monitor developments on the coronavirus pandemic. Investors are also anticipating U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s remarks at the Jackson Hole central bankers’ symposium later in the week.

In the cash market on Monday, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index settled at 22985.51, up 65.21 or +0.28%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index finished at 25551.58, up 437.74 or +1.74% and South Korea’s KOSPI Index closed at 2329.83, up 25.24 or 1.10%.

China’s Shanghai Index settled at 3385.64, up 4.96 or +0.15% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 finished at 6129.60, up 18.40 or +0.30%.

ChiNext Finishes Higher

The ChiNext rose 2.251% to close at about 3,028.86. The first batch of firms listing on the NASDAQ-style board under its revised IPO system made their debut on Monday and saw staggering gains. Contec Medical Systems jumped more than 1,000% on the day while Ningbo KBE Electrical Technology surged more than 740%.

Under the new listing system, stocks on the ChiNext will be allowed to trade freely in the first five days from their debut. Following which, new regulations will allow stocks on the board to gain or lose up to 20% in a session, as compared with 10% previously.

Asian Stock Investors Pin Hopes on Coronavirus Treatment

Asian shares advanced for a second straight session on Monday, underpinned by coronavirus hopes after U.S. regulators authorized the use of blood plasma from recovered patients as a treatment option.

The announcement from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration of a so-called “emergency use authorization” came on the eve of the Republican National Convention, where Donald Trump will be nominated to lead his party for four more years.

Equity traders are pinning hopes on a report that the Trump administration is considering by-passing normal U.S. regulatory standards to fast-track an experimental coronavirus vaccine from the UK for use in America ahead of the presidential election.

Fed Chair Powell to Speak at Jackson Hole Symposium

Looming large over this week is a keenly anticipated address by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell at the Kansas City Fed Jackson Hole symposium, where he will talk on the Fed’s monetary policy framework review.

Powell’s speech takes on more significance after the Fed disappointed investors last week. The Fed’s July meeting minutes last week barely made a mention of its policy outlook while failing to drop any hints of further accommodation by policymakers at their September 18 meeting.

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

Weekly Asia-Pacific Recap: China Facing Reform Measures, South Korea Battling COVID-19 Outbreak

The major Asia-Pacific stock indexes closed higher on Friday, but it wasn’t enough to offset the weekly losses. The South Korean KOSPI was the biggest loser for the week, while China’s Shanghai Index bucked the trend with a slightly higher close.

In the cash market for the week-ending August 21, Japan’s Nikkei Index settled at 22920.30, down 369.06 or -1.58%. South Korea’s KOSPI Index finished at 2304.59, down 102.90 or -4.27% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index closed at 25113.84, down 69.17 or -0.27%.

China’s Shanghai Index settled at 3380.68, up 20.58 or +0.61% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index finished at 6111.20, down 15.00 or -0.24%.

 

China Stocks End Week Higher; Techs Retreat Ahead of Reform Measures

China stocks ended higher on Friday and posted a weekly rise, as investors cheered a series of solid corporate earnings, though uncertainty over Sino-U.S. trade talks kept a check on gains.

Investors found some support from a series of strong first-half earnings from Chinese companies as Beijing ramped up stimulus support to revive an economy hammered by the COVID-19 crisis.

Bucking the broad strength, tech players lost ground for the week. The tech-heavy start-up board index and the STAR50 index dropped 1.4% and 2.4% respectively, as investors turned cautious ahead of the implementation of reforms measures for Shenzhen’s start-up board ChiNext, Reuters reported.

Last Monday, China’s central bank injected 700 billion yuan ($101.32 billion) of MLF loans, alleviating concerns over liquidity tightening following more signs of economic recovery.

Market participants were also watching out for developments on trade talks between Washington and Beijing.

South Korean Shares Plunge Most in 2 months on Infection Surge, Fed’s Gloom

The South Korean KOSPI lost 4.27% last week with most of its losses taking place on Thursday. Shares tumbled 3.7%, the sharpest fall in two months, as fears of rising domestic coronavirus infections persist, while a cautious outlook from the US Federal Reserve weighed on investor sentiment.

South Korean health officials are struggling to contain an outbreak of the new coronavirus centered in the capital city of Seoul, as new cases levelled off but remained in the triple digits on Thursday.

Prices were further pressured after the minutes of the Fed’s late-July meeting revealed its members are considering tweaks to monetary policy, while remaining concerned that the U.S. economy’s nascent recovery from the pandemic-induced recession faced an uncertain path.

Japan’s Nikkei Posts Weekly Decline

Technology stocks helped Japanese shares edge higher on Friday, but investors taking profits ahead of the weekend capped gains. Nonetheless, the Nikkei 225 Index still managed to post a loss for the week.

Driving last week’s selling pressure was the U.S. Federal Reserve’s minutes which showed that policymakers were concerned about the uncertain path of economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

Minutes from the Fed’s July 28-29 meeting published on Wednesday showed policymakers judged that the swift rebound in employment seen in May and June had likely slowed and that additional “substantial improvement” in the labor market would hinge on a “broad and sustained” reopening of business activity.

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

RBA Minutes Boost Australian Shares; COVID-19 Scare Drives South Korean Kospi Sharply Lower

The major Asia-Pacific stock indexes settled mixed on Tuesday with cautious buyers getting a lift from Wall Street’s tech-driven rally on Monday, while sellers were encouraged by fresh concerns over U.S.-China tensions.

Sentiment was supported by the NASDAQ, which surged to a record high close on Monday and the S&P 500, which approached its own record level, both lifted by technology stocks.

Meanwhile, investors remained nervous about lofty valuations after the Trump administration announced on Monday it would further tighten restrictions on China’s Huawei Technologies Co., aimed at cracking down on its access to commercially available chips, a move set to disrupt global supply chains.

In the cash market on Tuesday, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index settled at 23051.08, down 45.67 or -0.20%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index finished at 25273.64, down 73.70 or -0.29% and South Korea’s KOSPI closed at 2348.24, down 59.25 or -2.46%.

In China, the Shanghai Index settled at 3451.09, up 12.29 or +0.36% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 finished at 6123.40, up 47.00 or +0.77%.

Australian Shares End Higher as RBA Minutes, Lower Virus Cases Lift Sentiment

Australian shares closed higher on Tuesday, with healthcare stocks leading gains, as the central bank’s minutes showed some optimism around its economy and the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus in the country appeared to ease, Reuters reported.

The Reserve Bank of Australia does not see a need to further ease policy for now as its measures were working “broadly as expected” with a recovery underway in most of the country, its August policy meeting’s minutes showed.

Aiding sentiment, lower COVID-19 cases were reported in Victoria and New South Wales and Australia is now set to mark its lowest one-day rise in infections in a month.

China Healthcare, Consumer Shares Fuel Strong Rally

Shanghai stocks ended higher on Tuesday, extending a previous session’s rally, helped by strong gains in healthcare and consumer stocks. The modest gains came after Monday’s strong rally, as investors turned to financial and other traditional players with low valuations on more signs of economic recovery.

“The benchmark Shanghai Index could break through its resistance area given the active trading, and as investors seek opportunities in banking, real estate and construction stocks with low valuations for the short-term,” Yin Yue, analyst with Yuekai Securities said in a report.

South Korea Stocks Drop Most in 2 Months as Domestic Virus Cases Surge

South Korean shares fell the most in two months on Tuesday as worries about a surge in domestic coronavirus cases eclipsed optimism from an overnight tech-fueled rally on Wall Street.

South Korea reported a three-digit increase in novel coronavirus cases for a fifth consecutive day, as authorities scrambled to trace hundreds of members of a church congregation, and the military locked down bases to counter the spread of the virus.

“The spike of COVID-19 cases during the holiday weekend dented the sentiment … there are worries that the virus spread could worsen and would delay the economic recovery,” said Lee Young-gon, an analyst at Hana Financial Investment.

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

Chip-Maker Gains Boost Japan’s Nikkei; Chinese Investors Worried About Valuation, Tighter Monetary Policy

The major Asia-Pacific stock indexes finished higher last week, mostly taking their cues from Wall Street which also posted a formidable gain as the benchmark S&P 500 Index posted a record high. Gains may have been capped, however, because of the lack of progress toward another round of fiscal stimulus in the United States and rising global coronavirus cases which threaten the pace of the economic recovery.

In the cash market last week, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index settled at 23289.36, up 959.42 or +4.30 %. South Korea’s KOSPI finished at 2407.49, up 55.82 or +2.37% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index closed at 25183.01, up 651.39 or +2.66%.

China’s Shanghai Index settled at 3360.10, up 6.06 or +0.18% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index finished at 6126.20, up 121.40 or +2.02%.

Nikkei Rises to 6-Month High, Rally Led by Chip-Related Shares

Japan’s Nikkei share average scaled a near six-month high on Thursday, driven by strong gains in semiconductor-related stocks, with investors sticking to hopes that Washington will deliver stimulus even as talks between U.S. lawmakers stall, according to Reuters.

The Nikkei rose above its July 9 peak to hit its highest level since February 21, almost fully recovering from its decline since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, the broader Topix rose 1.10% to 1,623.18, closing in on its June peak.

Semi-conductor related shares advanced on hopes for more chip demand related to new technologies, such as 5G communication, after strong gains in global peers.

Chip-making machine maker Tokyo Electron rose 3.3% while Murata Manufacturing, manufacturer of capacitors and other electronic parts, added 2.7%., Reuters reported.

Precision machine makers were the top performer among the 33 Topix industry sub-indexes. Olympus jumped 3.3% to a record high, while Terumo rose 3.8%.

Pan Pacific International Holdings jumped 8.3% following brisk earnings growth and a dividend hike, while Secom rose 4.9% after consensus-beating earnings.

China Stocks Close Marginally Higher After Avoiding Weekly Loss

China stocks finished marginally higher last week after a small rally on Friday helped avoid a weekly loss. Investment sentiment was primarily dented by weakness in technology shares, worries over policy tightening and rising Sino-U.S. tensions.

Tech firms led the retreat last week. ChiNext was down 4.5% for the week, set for its steepest weekly drop in nearly five months, while the STAR50 Index sank 4.3%.

China’s recovery after its pandemic crash earlier in the year has been primarily driven by pent-up demand, government stimulus and surprisingly resilient exports, which are helping to propel and economic recovery. However, investors now seem a little “hesitant to buy stocks with lofty valuations and substantial gains this year, and are beginning to seek opportunities in cheap stocks with safety margin including those in traditional industries,” according to Xia Tian, managing director at Shanghai-based asset management firm Minvest.

The biggest fear for investors is a possible marginal tightening of monetary policy that could take place due to the extent of China’s economic recovery in the first half of the year.

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