Asia-Pacific Stocks Finish Mixed; South Korea Gains on Final Trading Day in 2020

The major Asia-Pacific stock indexes finished mixed on Thursday as some investors booked profits and squared positions ahead of the new year. Others reacted to Wall Street’s lower close, while some bought stocks in anticipation of a better global economy in 2021.

The overnight news was light with investors closely watching for any fresh fiscal stimulus news from the United States. China also released a new report on its 2019 GDP growth. The U.S. Dollar also continued to weaken against a basket of major currencies, signaling that demand for risk would likely remain at heightened levels.

Wednesday’s Performances

In the cash market on Wednesday, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index settled at 27444.17, down 123.98 or -0.45%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index finished at 27147.11, up 578.62 or +2.18% and South Korea’s KOSPI Index closed at 2873.47, up 52.96 or +1.88%.

In China, the Shanghai Index settled at 3414.45, up 35.42 or +1.05% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index finished at 6682.40, down 17.90 or -0.27%.

Wednesday was the final trading day in 2020 for stocks in Japan and South Korea as their markets will be closed on Thursday.

US Politics

In Washington, lawmakers continued to disagree over direct payments to Americans. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s effort to fast-track the bill, passed by the House late Monday, that would increase checks to $2,000 from $600.

Although many Republican Senators remain adamantly opposed, worried about the cost to taxpayers, support is growing among them, including two from Georgia, who are running in the crucial races that will determine who will control the Senate.

China’s Blue-Chip, Start-up Indexes Hit Over Five-Year High on Growth Hopes

China’s blue-chip index and start-up board ChiNext both hit their highest in more than five years on Wednesday, as Asian stocks hit a record on hopes of a strong economic recovery next year.

Investors shrugged off the move by U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration to strengthen an executive order barring U.S. investment in Chinese firms with alleged military backing.

In other related news, global index publisher FTSE Russell said it may delete more Chinese companies from its global benchmarks in response.

Most sectors climbed, with energy and resources gaining the most. Investors are anticipating a robust economic recovery as several nations seek to contain the coronavirus spread with vaccines.

Some internet firms, which witnessed panic-selling earlier this week due to Beijing’s anti-trust probe into Alibaba Group, and its affiliate Ant Group, rebounded sharply on Wednesday.

Nikkei Slips from over 30-year High, but Posts Gains for 2020

Japan’s Nikkei share average ended lower on the last trading day of the year, retreating from a more than three-decade high hit in the previous session as investors booked profits, but it logged gains for a second straight year.

On the year, the Nikkei was up 16% compared to an 18.2% gain in 2019. It rose nearly 18.4% in the quarter, marking the biggest quarterly gain since the three months ended March 2013.

Japanese financial markets will be closed from Thursday and reopen on Monday, January 4.

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

Asia-Pacific Shares Mostly Higher; Alibaba’s 8% Loss Pressures Hong Kong Tech Stocks

The major Asia-Pacific stock indexes finished mixed but mostly higher on Monday with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng being dragged down by another plunge in shares of Alibaba. The markets were underpinned by a bullish tone on Wall Street after U.S. President Donald Trump signed a COVID relief and government funding bills days after he suggested he would block it.

In the cash market on Monday, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index settled at 26854.03, up 197.42 or +0.74%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng finished at 26314.63, down 71.93 or -0.27% and South Korea’s KOSPI Index closed at 2808.60, up 1.74 or +0.06%.

In China, the Shanghai Index settled at 3397.29, up 0.72 or +0.02%. The Australian stock market was closed for a bank holiday.

Hong Kong Stocks End Down as Techs Weigh

Hong Kong stocks declined on Monday, dragged down by tech firms, amid regulatory concerns after China’s central bank called for an overhaul at Ant Group, although upbeat China data curbed losses.

Falling the most, the Hang Seng Tech Index slumped 4.3%, while the Hang Seng IT Index dived 5.9%.

Hong Kong shares of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd dropped 8% in its sixth straight session of decline.

Shares in new economy companies, including Alibaba, Tencent and Meituan may stay under pressure, and it’s still early for investors to hunt for bargains now, Guodu Hong Kong said in a note.

China Stocks End Higher on Upbeat Data

China stocks closed higher on Monday, helped by strong industrial profit data that underscored a continued recovery in the world’s second-largest economy.

Profits at China’s industrial firms grew robustly in November for a seventh month of gains, supported by strong industrial production and sales, as manufacturers continue their recovery from the COVID-19 downturn.

In other news, China’s central bank disclosed on Sunday it had asked the country’s payments giant Ant Group Co Ltd to shake up its lending and other consumer finance operations, in the latest blow to its billionaire founder and controlling shareholder Jack Ma.

Trump Signs COVID Relief and Government Funding Bill

President Donald Trump signed a $900 billion coronavirus relief and government funding package into law on Sunday days after he suggested he would block it.

Trump averted a government shutdown late Sunday, and extended unemployment benefits to millions of Americans. The signing came days after Trump suggested he would veto the legislation, demanding $2,000 direct payments to Americans, instead of $600. U.S. stock index futures rose on the news.

Bank of Japan Divided on Stimulus Tweaks as Pandemic Stokes Deflation Fears

Bank of Japan (BOJ) policymakers were divided on how far to go in tweaking its stimulus program, with some calling for an overhaul of its strategy for achieving 2% inflation, a summary of views voiced at the December rate review showed.

The policy examination will focus on tweaking the BOJ’s purchases of exchange-traded funds (ETF) and operations for controlling the yield curve, according to the summary of the December 17 and 18 meeting released on Monday.

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

Asia-Pacific Shares Mostly Higher; China Launches Anti-Trust Probe into Alibaba

The major Asia Pacific stock indexes finished mostly higher on Thursday with China’s Shanghai Index losing ground in reaction to the news that Chinese regulators will probe tech-giant Alibaba for suspected monopolistic behavior.

According to reports, China’s State Administration for Market Regulation said through official online channels it has opened an investigation into Alibaba over monopolistic practices. The news was first reported by Bloomberg, and was announced by Chinese state news agency Xinhua.

Elsewhere, South Korea shares hit a record high in its longest rally since mid-2017. Japan shares edged near a 30-year high on recovery hopes and heavy machinery stocks’ gains. Australia shares rose on strong gains in the energy sector.

In the cash market on Thursday, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index settled at 26668.35, up 143.56 or +0.54%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index finished at 26386.56, up 43.46 or +0.16 and South Korea’s KOSPI Index closed at 2806.86, up 47.04 or +1.70%.

In China, the Shanghai Index settled at 3363.11, down 19.21 or -0.57% and in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 Index finished at 6664.80, up 21.70 or +0.33%.

China Stocks Dip as Anti-Trust Probe into Alibaba Hits Tech Shares

China stocks inched lower on Thursday, dragged by tech shares after Beijing launched an anti-trust probe into Jack Ma’s Alibaba Group. The probe is part of an accelerating crackdown on monopolistic behavior in China’s booming internet space, and the latest setback for Alibaba founder Jack Ma.

Additionally, investor confidence in the tech sector was hit by news that China launched an antitrust investigation into Alibaba’s e-commerce and fintech empire.

Spooked investors dumped shares of Alibaba’s subsidiaries and affiliates, as well as other internet firms that risk being targeted by Chinese anti-trust regulators.

South Korea Leads Pre-Christmas Gains Across Asia

South Korean shares hit a record high on Thursday, leading gains for most emerging Asian stock markets in holiday-thinned trading after the country secured deals to import COVID-19 vaccines.

The deals with Pfizer Inc and Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen fueled a nearly 2% rise in Seoul’s KOSPI, adding an eighth straight week of gains, while the won firmed half a percent. South Korean officials signed the deals to import coronavirus vaccines to cover up to 16 million people, as it grapples with the third wave of infections.

Samsung Electronics shares soared 5.3%, after jumping as much as 6.6% to hit a record high earlier in the session. The KOSPI has risen 27.72% so far this year, gaining 11.0% in the previous 30 trading sessions.

Nikkei Edges Near 30-Year High on Recovery Hopes, Heavy Machinery Stocks’ Gains

Japanese shares inched up on Thursday to come within sight of a near three-decade high, as vaccine rollouts buoyed hopes of an economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and heavy machinery stocks gained on a policy shift to greener energy.

Rollouts of COVID-19 vaccines are propping up hopes that the economic recovery can gain momentum next year, despite the headwinds from a recently-found more infectious strain and a delay in U.S. pandemic relief package.

Heavy machinery firms gained after Nikkei newspaper reported Japan’s new zero emission strategy would target a massive increase in offshore wind power.

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

Asia-Pacific Shares Plunge as New Coronavirus Strain in UK Threatens Global Recovery

The major Asia Pacific stock indexes tumbled on Tuesday, extending a sell-off from multi-year highs hit last week on fears a highly infectious new strain of COVID-19 that hit the U.K. could lead to a slower global economic recovery. Investor sentiment continued to sour even as the U.S. Congress on Monday approved a long-awaited $892 billion coronavirus aid package.

In the cash market on Tuesday, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index settled at 26439, down 278.03 or -1.04%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index finished at 26090.59, down 216.09 or -0.82% and South Korea’s KOSPI Index closed at 2733.68, down 44.97 or -1.62%.

In China, the Shanghai Index settled at 3356.78, down 63.79 or -1.86% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index finished at 6599.60, down 70.30 or -1.05%.

‘Out of Control’ Covid Strain Makes UK a Global Pariah as Countries Impose Travel Bans

A highly contagious new variant of the coronavirus is causing countries in Europe and elsewhere to block travel from Britain.

The U.K. last week warned of a new coronavirus variant that is thought to be up to 70% more transmissible than the original strain of the disease. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the new variant has so far been identified in Denmark, the Netherlands and Australia.

Over the weekend, several countries announced plans to shut their borders to Britain. In Europe, France, Germany, Italy, Ireland and the Netherlands have all barred flights from the U.K., while Austria and Sweden are reportedly preparing to do the same.

The German government, meanwhile, suspended all flights from the U.K. from midnight on Sunday. Other countries, including India, Canada and Israel, have also imposed new measures barring flights from the U.K. India will suspend all flights from the U.K. from Wednesday until the end of the year.

Meanwhile, the situation could further complicate Brexit talks. Britain and the European Union remain in deadlock over post-Brexit trade relations as a December 31 deadline looms, with disputes over issues such as fisheries plaguing negotiations.

Australia Shares Fall as New Virus Strain Clouds Recovery Hopes

Australian shares fell more than 1% on Tuesday as a fast-spreading new coronavirus strain in Britain triggered travel restrictions all over the world and threatened to disrupt a nascent global economic recovery.

Australia continued its efforts to contain a virus outbreak in its most populous state, New South Wales, which reported its lowest one-day rise in fresh cases in five days amid stringent lockdowns in the affected suburbs.

Energy stocks slumped 2.8% in their biggest drop since October 29, as oil prices sank on border closures in several countries to contain the new virus strain. Woodside Petroleum and Santos lost 3.1% and 3.3%, respectively.

In other news, Australian household spending surged in November as the southeastern state of Victoria was released from lockdown and consumers took advantage of discounts during annual Black Friday sales.

Preliminary retail sales advanced by 7% from the prior month, compared with the 2% gain expected in a survey of economists, data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed Tuesday in Sydney.

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

Asia-Pacific Shares Mostly Lower as US Plans to Blacklist More China Firms According to Reuters Report

The major Asia-Pacific stock indexes were mostly lower on Friday with South Korea’s KOSPI Index bucking the trend. The selling was fueled after Reuters reported that the United States is set to add dozens of Chinese companies, including the country’s top chipmaker SMIC, to a trade blacklist later in the day. Developments from the Bank of Japan also rattled traders.

In the cash market on Friday, Japan’s Nikkei settled at 26763.39, down 43.28 or -0.16%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index finished at 26498.60, down 179.78 or -0.67% and South Korea’s KOSPI Index closed at 2772.18, up 1.75 or +0.06%.

China’s Shanghai Index settled at 3394.90, down 9.98 or -0.29% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 finished at 6675.50, down 81.20 or -1.20%.

Reuters:  US to Blacklist Dozens of Chinese Firms Including SMIC, Sources Say

The United States is set to add dozens of Chinese companies, including the country’s top chipmaker SMIC, to a trade blacklist on Friday, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters on Thursday.

The Commerce Department is expected to add around 80 additional companies and affiliates to the so-called entity list, nearly all of them Chinese.

China’s foreign ministry said that if true, the blacklisting would be evidence of U.S. oppression of Chinese companies and that Beijing would continue to take “necessary measures” to protect their rights.

Bank of Japan Unveils New Plan

The Bank of Japan on Friday unveiled a plan to examine more effective ways to achieve its 2% inflation target, following in the footsteps of its U.S. and European peers as a renewed spike in infections threaten to derail a fragile recovery.

As widely expected, the central bank kept monetary policy steady and extended by six months a range of measures aimed at easing funding strains of companies hit by COVID-19.

In a surprise move, the BOJ said it will look at ways to make its policy “more effective and sustainable,” as the blow to growth from the pandemic pushes inflation further away from its target and forces it to maintain its massive stimulus longer.

South Korea Shares End Flat as Virus Concerns Offset US Stimulus Hopes

South Korean shares ended higher on Friday despite concerns over surging coronavirus infections at home overshadowing growing optimism about another U.S. economic aid package.

South Korea reported 1,062 new coronavirus cases on Friday, its second-highest ever daily tally, as the government warned businesses it was unacceptable for them to try to dodge shut-down orders by tricking the system.

That news countered the boost to sentiment from news that U.S. Republicans and Democrats were scrambling to pass a new round of aid after months of partisan finger-pointing and inaction.

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

Asia Pacific Stocks Expected to Trade Mixed Following See-Saw U.S. Session

The major Asia-Pacific stock indexes are expected to open flat to lower on Tuesday after a mixed session on Wall Street, as investors continued to weigh the prospects for a fiscal coronavirus spending package and the likelihood for further COVID-19-related economic restrictions.

According to Bloomberg, futures were little changed in Japan and Hong Kong, and dipped in Australia. In the U.S., the benchmark S&P 500 Index fell for a fourth session, capping its longest slide since September and is 1.5% below its December 8 record.

In the states, drugmakers led the NASDAQ 100 Index higher after Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc. agreed to be bought by AstraZeneca Plc, Bloomberg reported. Energy producers tumbled after OPEC cut its demand forecast. Oil was lower most of the day before reversing.

Bloomberg also said that investor optimism about the start of vaccine shots has given way to concern over whether a stimulus bill from a bipartisan group of lawmakers would gain traction after its release later. The virus continued to rage in the U.S., threatening harsher restrictions across the nation, and European governments are also tightening measures. New York City Major Bill de Blasio warned that people should be prepared for a full shutdown.

“Signs of market fatigue are more prevalent today than a month ago, even as the popular average is near all-time highs,” wrote Paul Nolte, a portfolio manager at Kingsview Investment Management. “The much-awaited correction could come as investors tire of Washington, worry about the COVID cases over the holidays, or some other concern that is likely to pass in a few months.”

Monday Recap

Stocks in Asia-Pacific were mixed in Monday’s trade, as investors in the region reacted to the approval of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine.

In Japan, the benchmark Nikkei 225 Index gained 0.3% to close at 26, 732.44 while the Topix index rose 0.48% to end its trading day at 1,790.52.

The Bank of Japan’s quarterly tankan survey showed on Monday business sentiment in Japan improving in the three months to December. The headline index for big manufacturers’ sentiment improved to minus 10 as compared with minus 27 in September. A median market forecast had expected the figure to come in at minus 15, according to Reuters.

Hong Kong-listed shares of Alibaba and Tencent dropped on Monday, declining 2.63% and 2.89%, respectively.

Alibaba Group and Tencent Holdings-backed China Literature were among firms set to be fined 500,000 Yuan each ($76,467) by China’s market regulator for failing to report deals properly for anti-trust reviews, according to a Monday announcement. China Literature’s stocks in Hong Kong fell 4.12% on Monday.

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

Asia-Pacific Markets: China Shares Could Face More Pressure on Monetary Policy-Tightening Worries

The major Asia-Pacific stock indexes put in a mixed performance last week led the Nikkei’s first weekly loss in six on Brexit and virus worries, and declines in China and Hong Kong, which were fueled by rising Sino-U.S. tensions. Shares in Australia jumped on the strength of gold miners and South Korean stocks were boosted by strong export numbers.

In the cash market last week, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index settled at 26652.52, down 98.72 or -0.37%. South Korea’s KOSPI Index finished at 2770.06, up 38.61 or +1.41% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index closed at 26505.87, down 330.05 or -1.23%.

In China, the Shanghai Index settled at 3347.19, down 97.39 or -2.83% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index finished at 6642.60, up 8.50 or +0.13%.

Nikkei Posts First Weekly Loss in Six on Brexit, Virus Worries

Japan’s Nikkei share average fell on Friday to post its first weekly fall in six, as uncertainties over Brexit, U.S. stimulus and worries over surging COVID-19 cases at home sapped risk appetite.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said on Friday the coronavirus situation in the country is tense, but added that he was not thinking of suspending the government travel subsidy program.

Denting sentiment further, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said there was “a strong possibility” Britain and the European Union would fail to strike a trade deal.

Near-term U.S. fiscal stimulus appears unlikely after Democrat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggested wrangling over a spending package and coronavirus aid could drag on through Christmas.

Nikkei heavyweight SoftBank Group Posts Massive Gains

SoftBank Group Corp shares surged 11% after the investment conglomerate scored an $11.2 billion gain in the value of its stake in DoorDash Inc following the U.S. food delivery app’s blockbuster stock market debut.

SoftBank, which invested $680 million in DoorDash in the last three years, saw the value of its 25% stake in the company rise to $11.90 billion on the first day of trading in New York.

SoftBank’s shares climbed as much as 19% in Tokyo trading and closed at new two-decade highs at 8,306 yen.

SoftBank’s shares were also supported after Bloomberg News reported that the group was considering buying back shares to boost CEO Masayoshi Son’s stake so he could squeeze out remaining investors.

China Stocks Post Biggest Weekly Loss in 11 on Sino-US Tensions

China’s blue-chip stocks fell for a fifth straight session on Friday to post their biggest weekly loss in 11 weeks, as a flare-up in Sino-U.S. tensions and worries about policy tightening dented risk appetite.

S&P Dow Jones Indices on Thursday became the second major index provider to remove some Chinese companies from its index products following a Trump administration executive order, in the latest market disruption from persistent Sino-U.S. tensions.

In other sign of rising tensions, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission said on Thursday it had begun the process of revoking China Telecom’s authorization to operate in the United States.

South Korean Shares Post Sixth Weekly Jump

South Korean shares posted their longest streak of weekly gains since November 2019, as strong exports data and optimism over COVID-19 vaccines eclipsed concerns over a delay in U.S. stimulus and a third wave of infections at home.

South Korea’s exports during the first 10 days of December jumped 26.9% from a year earlier, official data showed, boosted by microchips and improving global demand.

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

Asia-Pacific Shares Mixed; Export Jump Boosts South Korea’s KOSPI; Hong Kong Capped by Sino-US Tensions

The major Asia-Pacific shares finished mixed on Friday, following Wall Street’s lead. Stocks slipped as tricky Brexit negotiations and uncertainty over U.S. stimulus talks capped riskier bets even though COVID-19 vaccines made progress.

Lower U.S. futures were a drag on sentiment as near-term U.S. fiscal stimulus appeared unlikely. Democrat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggested wrangling over a spending package and coronavirus aid could drag on through Christmas.

In the cash market on Friday, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index settled at 26652.52, down 103.72 or -0.39%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index finished at 26505.87, up 95.28 or +0.36% and South Korea’s KOSPI Index closed at 2770.06, up 23.60 or +0.86%.

In China, the Shanghai Index settled at 3347.19, down 26.08 or -0.77% and in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 index finished at 6642.60, down 40.50 or -0.61%.

Brexit also worried investors after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Thursday there was “a strong possibility” Britain and the European Union would fail to strike a trade deal.

Britain and the EU have set a deadline of Sunday to find an argument, before Britain’s exit from the bloc on January 1. The odds of a disorderly Brexit rose to 61% on Friday from 53% a day before, according to the Smarkets exchange.

South Korea Stocks Jump on Strong Trade Data, Vaccine Optimism

South Korean shares jumped over 1% on Friday as strong exports data added to signs of recovery from the coronavirus-induced economic slump.

South Korea’s exports during the first 10 days of December jumped 26.9% from a year earlier, official data showed on Friday.

Hong Kong Shares Rise on Vaccine Hopes, Sino-US Tensions Cap Gains

Hong Kong stocks tracked higher as progress on COVID-19 vaccines boosted sentiment, although gains were capped due to a flare up in Sino-U.S. tensions.

Asian markets were buoyed by optimism that imminent vaccinations would fuel economic recovery. U.S. authorities voted overwhelmingly to endorse emergency use of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine, while doses of a COVID-19 vaccine made by China’s Sinovac Biotech are rolling off a Brazilian production line.

But the Hong Kong market is clouded by signs of deterioration in Sino-U.S. relationship as the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) begun the process of revoking China Telecom’s authorization to operate in the United States.

S&P Dow Jones Indices on Thursday became the second major index provider to remove some Chinese companies from its index products following a Trump administration executive order. FTSE Russell made a similar move last week, while rival publisher MSCI is expected to follow suit.

Hong Kong-listed shares of the U.S.-blacklisted companies, including CRRC, China Communications Construction Co and China State Construction all fell on Friday.

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

Asia-Pacific Shares Most Higher but Shanghai Composite Drops More than 1%

The major Asia-Pacific stock indexes finished higher on Wednesday, but shares in China took a hit with the benchmark Shanghai Index dropping more than 1%. Bullish traders were mostly influenced by the rollout of the coronavirus vaccine in the U.K., while sellers in China reacted to weak consumer inflation data and rising Sino-U.S. tensions.

In the cash market on Wednesday, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index settled at 26817.94, up 350.86 or +1.33%. South Korea’s KOSPI Index finished at 2755.47, up 54.54 or +2.02 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index closed at 26484.59, up 180.03 or +0.68%.

In China, the Shanghai Index settled at 3371.96, down 38.21 or -1.12% and in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 finished at 6728.50, up 40.80 or +0.61%.

UK Administers First COVID-19 Vaccines, Massive Rollout Begins

The U.K. rolled out the first coronavirus vaccines to the public on Tuesday, making it the first country to inoculate people with a treatment that went through full testing.

On the eve of the vaccine being rolled out, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said it was a “huge step forward” in the fight against the pandemic. It will be the country’s biggest vaccination drive ever.

Johnson’s sentiment was echoed by NHS England’s Chief Executive Simon Stevens, who said on Monday that it was a “decisive turning point in the battle against coronavirus.”

China’s Consumer Prices Drop for the First Time Since 2009

China’s consumer price index fell in November for the first time in about a decade as food prices dropped.

The consumer price index, a measure of inflation that tracks prices for a basket of consumer goods and services, fell 0.5% in November from a year ago, China’s National Bureau of Statistics said Wednesday.

The decline marked the first drop since October 2009, according to the Wind Information database.

Core CPI, which excludes food and energy prices, rose 0.5% in November from a year ago. The producer price index (PPI), which measures prices of goods and services from the perspective sellers, fell 1.5% in November from a year ago. That was 0.6 percentage points less of a decline versus October’s figure, the statistics bureau said.

Economists did not expect major changes in monetary policy from the People’s Bank of China as a result of the drop in CPI. With the PPI narrowing, China’s central bank may look past the overall drop in consumer prices and focus on reducing some stimulus.

Nikkei Ends at Near 30-Year High on Recovery Hopes, Upbeat Machinery Data

Japanese shares closed at a near 30-year high on Wednesday, as Britain’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout and seeming progress over a U.S. stimulus deal boosted hopes of a swift global economic recovery, while upbeat domestic machinery data also buoyed sentiment.

SoftBank Group Corp shares did most of the uplifting in the afternoon trade, jumping as much as 7% on a Bloomberg News report that the conglomerate was considering buying back shares to boost Chief Executive Officer Masayoshi Son’s stake.

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

Asia-Pacific Shares Mixed; South Korean Stocks Tumble on COVID-19 Spike

The major Asia-Pacific stock indexes finished mixed on Tuesday as the mood shifted to downbeat after the United States imposed financial sanctions on some Chinese officials on Monday, raising more fears about relations between the two countries, while losses on Wall Street overnight set the tone in early trading.

In the cash market on Tuesday, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index settled at 26467.08, down 80.36 or -0.30%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index finished at 26304.56, down 202.29 or -0.76% and South Korea’s KOSPI Index closed at 2700.93, down 44.51 or -1.62%.

China’s Shanghai Index settled at 3410.18, down 6.43 or -0.19% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 finished at 6687.70, up 12.70 or +0.19%.

China Promises Countermeasures against US Sanctions

The United States on Monday imposed financial sanctions and travel ban on 14 Chinese officials over their alleged role in Beijing’s disqualifications last month of elected opposition legislators in Hong Kong.

China said on Tuesday it would take firm countermeasures. The U.S. move to sanction Chinese officials is “unwarranted and vile behavior”, and China urges it to withdraw the decision, foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a regular briefing.

South Korea Shares Slump on Concerns over Wave of Coronavirus Infections

South Korean shares lost over 1.50% on Tuesday as concern over a wave of local coronavirus infections hit one of the countries viewed as having done best at quelling outbreaks.

South Korea reported 594 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, and health authorities predicted daily cases would hover between 550 and 750 this week, and possibly spike to as much as 900 next week.

The country also announced it had signed deals to provide coronavirus vaccines for 44 million people next year but it would not hurry inoculation to allow more time to observe potential side effects.

The South Korean government has arranged to buy 20 million doses each from AstraZeneca Plc, Pfizer Inc, and Moderna Inc, and another 4 million doses from Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen, enough to cover up to 34 million people, Health Minister Park Neung-hoo told a briefing.

Additional doses for 10 million people would be procured through the World Health Organization’s global vaccine project, known as COVAX, he added.

Hong Kong Stocks Fall on Sino-US Tensions

Hong Kong stocks ended down on Tuesday, on persistent worries over Sino-U.S. tensions, while fresh concerns about a surge in COVID-19 infections also weighed on the market.

Financials led the decline, with the financial sector ending 1.98% lower, while a sub-index of the Hang Seng tracking energy shares dipped 2.9%, the IT sector rose 0.92, and the property sector dipped 0.93%.

Australian Shares Inch Higher as Gold Miners Climb

Australian shares inched higher on Tuesday as gold miners rose on strong bullion prices, though gains were capped by losses in energy stocks triggered by an overnight slump in oil prices.

The gold sub-index gained as much as 2.8%, after expectations of fresh fiscal stimulus in the United States pushed prices up 1% on Monday. Sector heavyweights Newcrest Mining and Northern Star Resources added up to 2.4% and 3.3%, respectively.

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

Vaccine, Stimulus Hopes Lift Asia-Pacific Stocks, Offsetting Concerns Over US Blacklisting of China’s SMIC

The major Asia-Pacific stock indexes finished mostly higher on Friday as investors continued to express optimism over a successful launch of vaccines to combat the spread of coronavirus cases. Rising expectations for a bipartisan end-of-the-year U.S. fiscal stimulus package also underpinned prices.

Traders expressed little concern over the release of the November U.S. Non-Farm Payrolls report that was expected to come in below the previous month’s number. Evidently, it’s no secret the U.S. economy is slowing. Hence the need for more fiscal stimulus. Traders also seemed to be unfazed by the U.S. move to blacklist China’s largest chipmaker.

In the cash market on Friday, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index settled at 26751.24, down 58.13 or -0.22%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index finished at 26835.92, up 107.42 or +0.40% and South Korea’s KOSPI Index closed at 2731.45, up 35.23 or 1.31%.

In China, the Shanghai Index settled at 3444.58, up 2.45 or +0.07% and in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 Index finished at 6634.10, up 18.80 or +0.28%.

Pentagon Blacklists China Chipmaker SMIC and Oil Producer CNOOC

China’s largest chipmaker and national offshore oil and gas producer were added Thursday to a blacklist of alleged Chinese military companies, the Pentagon said in an evening statement.

The Department of Defense designated a total of four companies as being either owned or controlled by the People’s Liberation Army.

The move will likely escalate tensions between the world’s two largest economies and adds to the list of pressing geopolitical issues awaiting President-elect Joe Biden.

The blacklisting of SMIC threatens to hit at the heart of China’s plans to boost its domestic semiconductor industry, a need that has been accelerated by the trade war with the U.S. SMIC is seen as a critical part of China’s ambitions and the latest moves by the Pentagon could hold back the company’s development for several years.

South Korean Stocks Touch Record High on Samsung Electric, SK Hynix Boost

South Korean shares extended their rally on Friday to touch a record high on Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix surge and foreign buying, despite the virus spurt at home.

Shares in the world’s two largest memory chipmakers Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix surged as much as 3.4% and 7.2%, respectively, to their record highs, after rival Micron Technology’s facility in Taiwan faced power outage and on continued optimistic sectoral outlook.

In COVID-19 related news, South Korea’s capital Seoul will require most establishments to close at 9 p.m. each day, acting Seoul major Seo Jeong-hyup told a briefing on Friday, as the country reported 629 new cases on Friday, the most since the first wave of infections in the country peaked in late February.

Naver, the country’s biggest search engine operator, and Kakao Corp, South Korea’s top mobile messenger provider, surged as spiking coronavirus infections at home boosted demand for contactless services.

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

Asia-Pacific Shares Soar on Strong China Factory Activity Growth; RBA Holds Rates Steady

The major Asia-Pacific stock indexes posted strong gains on Tuesday after taking an end-of-the-month breather the previous session. Buyers were aggressive the first day of the new month, helped by the release of a private survey of China’s manufacturing activity. The news comes on the heels of Monday’s official manufacturing PMI for November that came in at the highest reading in more than three years.

In the cash market on Tuesday, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index settled at 26787.54, up 353.92 or 1.34%, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index finished at 26567.68, up 226.19 or +0.86% and South Korea’s KOSPI Index closed at 2634.25, up 42.91 or +1.66%.

In China, the Shanghai Index settled at 3451.94, up 60.18 or +1.77% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index finished at 6588.50, up 70.70 or +1.08%.

China’s Factory Activity Growth Hits Decade High in November as Economy Recovers

Activity in China’s factory sector accelerated at the fastest pace in a decade in November, a business surveyed showed on Tuesday, as the world’s second-largest economy recovers to pre-pandemic levels.

The Caixin/Markit Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index PMI rose to 54.9 from October’s 53.6, with the gauge staying well above the 50-level that separates growth from contraction for the seventh consecutive month. Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast the headline reading would slip to 53.5.

The Caixin PMI reading was the highest since November 2010, and comes after an official gauge of factory activing, focusing more on larger and state-owned firms, rose at the fastest pace in over three years.

“Manufacturing continued to recover and the economy increasingly returned to normality as fallout from the domestic COVID-19 epidemic faded,” Wang Zhe, senior economist at Caixin Insight Group, wrote in a note accompanying the survey release.

RBA Holds Rates Near Historical Lows

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) held rates at near-zero in a widely expected move on Tuesday as easy monetary and fiscal policies propped up the coronavirus-hit economy, fueling demand for homes and boosting construction activity.

In a short post-meeting statement, Governor Philip Lowe sounded optimistic about a recovery as the country has confidently reopened with almost zero new coronavirus cases.

“The economic recovery is under way and recent data have generally been better than expected,” Lowe said.

“This is good news, but the recovery is still expected to be uneven and drawn out and it remains dependent on significant policy support.”

Lowe also reiterated the board was unlikely to raise the cash rate for at least three years and was prepared to do more if necessary.

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

Asia-Pacific Shares Down Across the Board; China Reports Upbeat Factory Activity

The major Asia-Pacific stock indexes closed lower on Monday as investors took profits and squared positions on the last day of trading in November. Traders showed little reaction to potentially bullish data from China showing a further expansion in the manufacturing sector. Trade frictions between Washington and Beijing may have also weighed on investor sentiment.

In the cash market on Monday, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index settled at 26433.62, down 211.09 or -0.79%. South Korea’s KOSPI Index finished at 2591.34, down 42.11 or -1.60% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index closed at 26341.49, down 553.19 or -2.06%.

In China, the Shanghai Index settled at 3391.76, down 16.55 or -0.49% and in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 Index finished at 6517.80, down 83.30 or -1.26%.

China’s Factory Activity Expands at Fastest Pace in Over Three Years

China’s factory activity expanded at the fastest pace in more than three years in November, while growth in the services sector also hit a multi-year high, as the country’s economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic stepped up.

Upbeat data released on Monday suggests the world’s second-largest economy is on track to become the first to completely shake off the drag from widespread industry shutdowns, with recent production data showing manufacturing now at pre-pandemic levels.

China’s official manufacturing Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI) rose to 52.1 in November from 51.4 in October, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed. It was the highest PMI reading since September 2017 and remained above the 50-point mark that separates growth from contraction on a monthly basis. It was also higher than the 51.5 median forecast in a Reuters poll of analysts.

Trump to Add China’s SMIC and CNOOC to Defense Blacklist:  Reuters, Citing Sources

The Trump administration is poised to add China’s top chipmaker SMIC and national offshore oil and gas producer CNOOC to a blacklist of alleged Chinese military companies, according to a document and sources, curbing their access to U.S. investors and escalating tensions with Beijing weeks before President-elect Joe Biden takes office.

Japan Oct Retail Sales Rise; Factor Output Grows for Fifth Month

Japanese retail sales rose 6.4% in October from a year earlier, up for the first time in eight months and matching a median market forecast, government data showed on Monday.

Japan’s industrial output rose for the fifth straight month in October signaling the economy was recovering further from the damage caused by the COVID-19 crisis.

Official data released on Monday showed factory output jumped 3.8% in October from the previous month, mainly due to strength in general machinery production and motor vehicle manufacturing.

The solid increase beat the median market forecast of a 2.1% rise in a Reuters poll of economists, and was in line with the prior month’s 3.9% gain.

Aussie Shares Tumble Amid Spat with China Over Hefty Wine Tariffs

Shares in Australia fell sharply on Monday after the country’s Treasury Wine Estates said it would divert hundreds of thousands of case of China-bound wine to other countries to avoid hefty tariffs, battering its shares as it acknowledged its future in its biggest market was unclear.

After Beijing imposed a 169.3% mark-up as part of an industry-wide anti-dumping investigation, the world’s largest listed winemaker said it would redirect sales of its prized Penfolds label to the U.S., Europe, elsewhere in Asia and domestically.

Treasury shares fell as much as 12% in early trade on Monday, against a slightly weaker broader market. The stock is down a third since China announced the anti-dumping investigation in August.

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

Asia-Pacific Shares Rise on Upbeat Chinese Industrial Profits Data, Vaccine Hopes

The major Asia-Pacific stock indexes finished mostly higher on Friday with Australia bucking the trend as investors reacted positively to strong industrial profits from China for October. Traders showed little reaction to concerns over the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine candidate despite criticisms from U.S. experts on the results and methods used in their phase three vaccine trials.

In the cash market on Friday, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index settled at 26644.71, up 107.40 or +0.40%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index finished at 26894.68, up 75.23 or +0.28% and South Korea’s KOSPI Index closed at 2633.45, up 7.54 or +0.29%.

In China, the Shanghai Index settled at 3408.31, up 38.57 or 1.14% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index finished at 6601.10, down 35.30 or -0.53%.

China’s Industrial Profits Grow at Quickest Monthly Pace Since Early 2017

Profits at China’s industrial firms grew in October for a sixth consecutive month and at their quickest pace since early 2017, pointing to a steady recovery in the manufacturing sector after it was hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Profits at Chinese industrial firms surged 28.2% year-on-year in October to 642.91 billion yuan ($97.79 billion), National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) data showed on Friday, after rising 10.1% in September versus the previous year.

China Stocks End Higher to Post Weekly Gains on Upbeat Data

China stocks rose on Friday to post weekly gains, as upbeat profits from industrial firms pointed to a continued recovery in the world’s second largest economy amid the coronavirus outbreak.

UBS has set a target of 5,450 and 6,300 at end-2021 and end-2022, respectively, for the blue-chip CSI300 Index, adding mainland households could raise exposure to onshore equities in the next two years.

In other news, a spurt of missed debt repayments by three Chinese state-owned firms – a coal miner, a chipmaker and an automobile company – has shaken local markets and heightened speculation that a campaign to wean the economy off heavy credit is back.

South Korea Stocks Gain for Fourth Straight Week on Vaccine Hopes, Exports Outlook

South Korean shares ended higher on Friday, gaining for a fourth straight week, helped by a slew of potentially successful coronavirus vaccines on the table and an upbeat outlook for November exports.

South Korea’s exports likely bounced back in November and are expected to continue recovering for the time being, supported by strong chip sales and global demand, a Reuters poll showed on Friday.

The KOSPI has risen 19.83% so far this year, and gained 11.2% in the previous 30 trading sessions.

Foreigners Net Buyers of Japanese Stocks for Third Week in a Row

Foreign investors remained net buyers of Japanese equities for a third straight week that ended November 20, buoyed by progress in a second coronavirus vaccine-related developments that rekindled hopes of a swift global economic recovery.

Overseas investors were net buyers of stocks worth 597.17 billion yen ($5.74 billion) last week, after purchasing over 1 trillion yen in each of the previous two weeks, data from Japanese exchanges showed.

They bought 333.18 billion yen in cash equities markets and 263.99 billion yen worth of derivatives.

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

Asia-Pacific Shares Mixed as Investors Express Caution Over COVID-19 Pandemic

The major Asia-Pacific stock indexes finished mixed on Friday as investors continued to assess the impact of the new surge of coronavirus cases on the global economic recovery.

Japan’s Nikkei finished lower following the release of a report on core consumer inflation. Australia was pressured by a weak financial sector. China held its lending benchmark loan prime rate steady for the 7th straight month, in line with market expectations.

In the cash market on Friday, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index settled at 25527.37, down 106.97 or -0.42%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index finished at 26451.54, up 94.57, up +0.36% and South Korea’s KOSPI Index closed at 2553.50, up 6.08 or +0.24%.

China’s Shanghai Index settled at 3377.73, up 14.64 or +0.44% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index closed at 6539.20, down 8.00 or -0.12%.

Japan’s Consumer Prices Fall at Fastest Pace in Decade, Reviving Deflation Fears

Japan’s core consumer prices fell in October at their fastest annual pace in nearly a decade as the boost from last year’s sales tax hike petered out, heightening fears of a return to deflation for an economy still dealing with COVID-19.

Analysts expect consumer prices to continue falling in coming months due to sluggish consumption, casting doubt on the central bank’s view Japan will eventually see prices bounce back towards the central bank’s elusive 2% inflation target.

China Keeps Lending Benchmark Loan Prime Rate Steady for 7th Straight Month as Expected

China left its benchmark lending rate for corporate and household loans unchanged for a seventh straight month at its November fixing on Friday, matching market expectations.

The one-year loan prime rate (LPR) was kept unchanged at 3.85%, while the five-year LPR remained at 4.65%.

Hong Kong Shares Edge Up on Consumer and Material Boost; Post Third Consecutive Weekly Gain

Hong Kong shares edged up on Friday to post their third consecutive weekly advance, led by consumer and material stocks, tracking mainland gains on upbeat data and policy support during the week.

The top gainer on the Hang Seng was WuXi Biologics Inc, which gained 5.57%, while the biggest loser was China Overseas Land & Investment Ltd, which fell 3.79%.

For the week, the HIS rose 1.13%, while the HSCE up 0.1%, as investors cheered news of Beijing’s pledge to boost domestic consumption and promote an innovation-driven growth model to salvage a pandemic-ravaged economy.

China will promote economic growth to a “reasonable” range while pursuing higher quality development, Premier Li Keqiang was quoted as saying on Tuesday night by state radio.

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

Asia-Pacific Shares Mostly Higher; Nikkei Plunges as Improved Export Data Dampens Stimulus Chances

The major Asia-Pacific stock indexes were mixed, but mostly higher on Wednesday with Japan’s Nikkei taking a big hit on weak economic data. Vaccine optimism continued to drive prices higher although investors remained cautious over the coronavirus surge in the United States and Europe.

In the cash market on Wednesday, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index settled at 25728.14, down 286.48 or -1.10%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index finished at 26544.29, up 129.20 or +0.49% and South Korea’s KOSPI Index closed at 2545.64, up 6.49 or +0.26%.

China’s Shanghai Index settled at 3347.30, up 7.41 or +0.22% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 finished at 6531.10, up 32.90 or +0.51%.

Japan’s Long Run of Falling Exports Slows as Auto Demand Perks Up

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index plunged on Wednesday after a report showed Japan’s exports extended declines in October but at the slowest pace in almost two years, helped by improvement in Chinese- and U.S.-demand for cars and other items as the world’s third-largest economy emerged from its worst postwar slump.

Stocks fell sharply because the better-than-expect exports news likely reduced the chances of additional stimulus from the government or Bank of Japan.

The trade data is likely to encourage policymakers who are counting on external demand to shift Japan’s recovery away from government stimulus back to private sector activity, although a coronavirus resurgence has clouded the outlook.

By destination, shipments to the United States rose 2.5%, a second straight month of increase and the biggest since July 2019 led by demand for automobiles and car parts.

Hong Kong Shares End Higher on Vaccine Hopes, Stronger Automakers

Hong Kong stocks ended higher for a third straight session on Wednesday, with the automotive sector leading gains, as investors continued to cheer news of COVID-19 vaccine breakthroughs.

Moderna Inc said this week its experimental vaccine was 94.5% effective in preventing COVID-19 based on interim data from a late-stage clinical trial, becoming the second U.S. company in a week to report results that far exceeded expectations.

The automotive sector was the top gainer in the market, led by Geely Automobile Holdings, which rose as much as 8.8% to its highest level since June 2018, before closing 6.9% higher.

Australia Stock Exchange Resumes Trading After Software Glitch

Trading on the Australian Securities Exchange resumed on Tuesday following a software glitch that had forced the stock exchange to halt minutes after opening in the previous session, Reuters reported.

The country’s benchmark stock index gained as much as 0.4% by 2330 GMT and was at its highest since March 3, the same level it touched before trading came to a halt on Monday.

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

Asia-Pacific Shares Finished Mixed; Nikkei Touches 29-year High

The major Asia-Pacific stock indexes finished mixed but mostly higher on Tuesday in a choppy trade as Asian stocks edged cautiously into record territory following Monday’s strong performance by the U.S. benchmarks the previous session. The markets were primarily supported by news of another promising coronavirus vaccine although the reaction was not as spectacular as last Monday’s spike to the upside.

In the cash market on Tuesday, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index settled at 26014.62, up 107.69 or +0.42%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index finished at 26394.66, up 12.99 or +0.05% and South Korea’s KOSPI Index closed at 2539.15, down 3.88 or -0.15%.

In China, the Shanghai Index settled at 3339.90, down 7.07 or -0.21% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index finished at 6498.20, up 13.90 or +0.21%.

COVID-19 Update

Outbreaks in the United States are still spiking, as the country added 1 million new cases of the virus in under a week. The country has now recorded more than 11 million COVID-19 cases, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

Vaccine Hopes Lift Markets

Asian traders followed Wall Street’s lead from Monday after the U.S. benchmarks rose to record highs after Moderna said preliminary phase three trial data shows its coronavirus vaccine is more than 94% effective in preventing COVID-19. Its shares gained 9.6% on the day.

That news came after Pfizer and BioNTech announced last week that their coronavirus vaccine was more than 90% effective.

Nikkei Hits 29-year High as Vaccine Optimism Boosts Risk Appetite

Japan’s Nikkei share average closed at a 29-year high on Tuesday as investors cheered news of another potential coronavirus vaccine that re-ignited hopes of a swift global recovery. The benchmark index had closed at a 29-year high on Monday as well after the economy posted its first expansion in four quarters.

Around two-thirds of the 33 sector sub-indexes on the Tokyo exchange traded higher. The airline sector led gains, climbing 3.96%, with ANA Holdings and Japan Airlines adding 4.16% and 3.72%, respectively.

Nikkei’s heavyweight Fanuc Corp rose nearly 1.5%, helped by upbeat industrial output data from China and the formation of a regional trade bloc comprising 15 Asia-Pacific economies.

South Korea Stocks Reverse Early Gains on Stricter Virus Curbs, Profit-Taking

South Korean shares closed lower on Tuesday, reversing earlier gains as the country tightened coronavirus-related curbs and investors booked profits after a rally in the benchmark index. The won strengthened, while the benchmark bond yield fell. The benchmark KOSPI Index hit a 33-month high on Monday, its tenth session of gains out of eleven.

South Korea decided to strengthen social distancing rules for the greater Seoul area amid spikes in coronavirus cases, as it reported 230 new infections as of Monday midnight. The stricter new curbs hit optimism fueled by Moderna Inc’s vaccine announcement.

In other news, Chip giant Samsung Electronics slipped 0.9% after hitting a record high, while its peer SK Hynix extended gains to a sixth session.

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

Asia-Pacific Shares Settle Lower after Trump Bans US Investments in Firms Linked to Chinese Military

The major Asia-Pacific stock indexes finished mixed but mostly lower on Friday with South Korea bucking the trend. Profit-taking ahead of the weekend was likely behind the move amid the surge in coronavirus cases in the United States and Europe that threatens to derail the global economic recovery. The news is also dimming optimism from positive vaccine news.

In the cash market on Friday, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index settled at 25385.87, down 135.01 or -0.53%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index finished at 26156.86, down 12.52 or -0.05% and South Korea’s KOSPI closed at 2493.87, up 18.25 or +0.74%.

In China, the Shanghai Index settled at 3310.10, down 28.57 or -0.86% and in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 Index finished at 6405.20, down 13.00 or -0.20%.

Trump Bans Americans from Investing in Chinese Firms Tied to Military

President Donald Trump has signed an executive order banning Americans from investing in Chinese firms that the administration says are owned or controlled by the Chinese military.

The order applies to 31 Chinese companies which it says “enable the development and modernization” of China’s military and “directly threaten” U.S. security.

Smartphone maker Huawei and Hikvision, one of the world’s largest manufacturers and suppliers of video surveillance equipment, are among the blacklisted companies. Some of the other companies listed, including China Telecom and China Mobile, trade on the New York Stock Exchange.

COVID-19 Watch

Traders in the East continued to monitor the COVID-19 situation in the United States, as daily new cases of the virus continued to rise in the country, setting fresh records. Investors also expressed concerns about the state of the fragile global economy as central bank leaders sounded the alarm.

U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell warned Thursday that the “next few months could be challenging” despite recent developments on the vaccine front.

“From our standpoint, it’s just too soon to assess with any confidence the implications of the news for the path of the economy, especially in the near term,” Powell said regarding the vaccine.

South Korea Stocks Bounce Back, Samsung Electric Jumps to Record High

South Korean Shares bounced back from earlier losses on Friday, helped by sharp gains in market heavyweights including Samsung electronics. The Won and the benchmark bond yield both edged down.

Samsung Electronics climbed 3.6% to a record high on foreign investor buying, while other heavyweights SK Hynix, Hyundai Motor and Kakao Corp rose 1.8%, 2% and 2.2%, respectively.

Asiana Airlines, South Korea’s second-largest carrier, surged as much as 25.6% to a near seven-month high, while its affiliates and top shareholder jumped after reports of new acquisition talks. Shares soared on prospects that the debt-ridden pandemic-hit carrier may end up sharing a home with rival Korean Air Lines Co Ltd.

Foreigners were net buyers for a seventh straight session, purchasing 522.5 billion won ($468.61 million) worth of shares in the longest buying spree since mid-January. They had bought 3.76 trillion won worth of shares in the last six sessions.

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

Asia-Pacific Shares Mixed; China’s Tech Giants See $280 Billion in Market Value Erased Since Monday’s Close

The major Asia-Pacific stock indexes finished mixed on Wednesday. Gains were muted by declines in the technology sector as traders followed similar losses on Wall Street. Hong Kong-listed shares of Chinese tech firms were among the hardest hit on Wednesday. Investors in Japan and South Korea seemed to ignore the trend, while higher oil prices supported the market in Australia.

In the cash market on Wednesday, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index settled at 25349.60, up 444.01 or +1.78%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index finished at 26226.98, down 74.50 or -0.28% and South Korea’s KOSPI Index closed at 2485.87, up 33.04 or +1.35%.

China’s Shanghai Index settled at 3342.20, down 17.95 or -0.53% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 finished at 6449.70, up 109.20 or +1.72%.

China’s Tech Giants Pressured by Regulatory Concerns

Shares of China’s top technology giants were battered on Wednesday as regulatory concerns continue to mount.

By the Wednesday market close in Hong Kong shares of Alibaba listed in the city plunged 9.8% while Tencent dropped 7.39%. Smartphone maker Xiaomi also declined 8.18% and China’s biggest on-demand delivery services firm Meituan Dianping fell 9.67%. E-commerce giant JD.com also saw its stocks plummet 9.2%.

The broader Hang Seng Tech Index was also hammered and fell 6.23% on the day to 7,465.44.

The combined losses of the five tech heavyweights since their Monday’s close has contributed to more than $280 billion being wiped off in terms of market cap at the close of the trading day in Hong Kong, based on CNBC’s calculations.

Chinese regulator – the State Administration for Market Regulation – on Tuesday announced a set of draft rules aimed at curbing monopolistic behavior on internet platforms.

The moves were possibly further exacerbated by a global rotation out of tech stocks seen globally in recent days.

Australia’s biggest IPO in Two Years to price from Friday, Macquarie Set for Windfall

Macquarie Group plans to price  the initial price offering (IPO) of its majority-owned data analytics software business this week, earlier than planned, with the Australian investment firm on track to triple its investment.

A cornerstone bookbuild for software company Nuix is expected to be held on Friday to set a price for institutional buyers, a source with knowledge of the situation said, a week ahead of schedule due to growing risk appetite after the U.S. election.

At least half the company would be on offer to raise about A$900 million ($657 million), both people said, making it the country’s largest listing since Viva Energy’s $1.9 billion IPO in 2018, according to Refinitiv data.

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

RBNZ Leaves OCR Unchanged, Unveils New Lending Program; Alibaba Launches Annual Singles’ Day

The New Zealand Dollar is edging higher early Wednesday after the Reserve Bank (RBNZ) left its Official Cash Rate (OCR) unchanged at 0.25%, in line with market expectations.

Policymakers also unveiled a funding for lending program (FLP), which is aimed at lowering interest costs by offering cheap funding to banks. The FLP programme for banks will be launched in December.

Additionally, the central bank left its Government bond buying cap at $100 billion.

Asian Stocks Extend Gains as Vaccine Hopes Support Global Reopening

The major Asia-Pacific stock indexes rose on Wednesday, following a mixed performance on Wall Street, as hopes for a successful coronavirus vaccine lifted expectations of a swift reopening of the global economy, which would help the region’s heavily trade-dependent markets.

In the early trade, Australia’s benchmark S&P/ASX 200 climbed 1.05% with energy stocks and miners boosted by higher crude and commodity prices.

New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 Index rose around 0.6% in early trade ahead of the country’s central bank meeting.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 added 1.1%, and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index futures rose 0.09%.

Australian Shares Gain for Fifth Session

Australian shares rose for a fifth straight session on Wednesday following gains in financial and energy stocks.

Shares of travel-related companies and airlines extended gains on swifter-than-expected economic recovery hopes. Qantas Airways, Sydney Airport Holdings and Webjet Ltd climbed.

The energy index jumped more than 3%, hitting its highest since August 20 after crude gained overnight.

Australia’s top independent gas producer Woodside Petroleum rose after it reaffirmed that its Scarborough and Pluto Train 2 liquefied natural gas project is on track for a final investment decision in the second half of 2021.

Rising more than 2%, financial stocks hit an eight-month high. The country’s largest Commonwealth Bank of Australia climbed as much as 2.8%, even as its first-quarter cash profit fell 16%.

Miners jumped over 1% on higher iron ore prices. Mining giants BHP Group and Rio Tinto gained nearly 2% each.

Gold stocks, however, slipped 2.3%, with heavyweights Evolution Mining and Newcrest Mining trading lower.

Alibaba Launches China’s First Post-Covid Singles’ Day

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd kicked off its annual Singles’ Day mega-shopping event on Wednesday, looking to cash in on consumers itching for discounts as the economy rebounds from the COVID-19 crisis.

This year’s online shopping extravaganza also comes a week after Alibaba lost almost $76 billion (54.4 billion pounds) of its market value, following China’s suspension of the $37 billion listing of Ant Group, the financial technology firm Alibaba owns a third of.

Alibaba first launched the shopping event in 2009 and has made it the world’s biggest online sales festival, eclipsing Cyber Monday in the United States. Last year, it recorded $38.4 billion in Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) on the day.

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