Asia-Pacific stocks shrink as doubts over resumption of pandemic weigh on sentiment

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Asia-Pacific stocks shrink as doubts over resumption of pandemic weigh on sentiment


SINGAPORE – Stocks in the Asia-Pacific region were significantly lower in Wednesday’s trading as concerns over the global resumption of the pandemic weighed on investor sentiment.
The Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong was one of the biggest losers among the region’s major markets, as it fell around 2% from its last hour of trading.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 index slipped 2.04% to close at 28,405.52 while the Topix index fell 2.18% to end its trading day at 1,928.58.

Mainland China stocks also fell on that day, with the Shanghai composite down 1.3% to 3,367.06 while the Shenzhen component was down 1.469% to 13,407.35.

In South Korea, the Kospi slipped 0.28% to end its trading day at 2,996.35.

Australian stocks held up to the overall trend regionally, with the S & P / ASX 200 gaining 0.5% to close at 6,778.80.

The largest MSCI index of Asia-Pacific stocks outside of Japan slipped 1.21%.

Many parts of the world are seeing an increase in new cases of Covid-19 as highly contagious variants continue to spread, the World Health Organization said earlier this week. In Europe, authorities continue to fight the virus as the region battles a third wave of Covid.

Stocks in motion

In business developments, shares of Tencent in Hong Kong were down 1.27% in Wednesday afternoon trading. Reuters reported, citing people with first-hand knowledge, that the company founder met with China’s antitrust supervisors this month to discuss his group’s compliance.
Shares of Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Group in Hong Kong plunged more than 4%. These measures came after Hong Kong and Macao announced the suspension of BioNTech Covid vaccinations. Fosun Pharma is BioNTech’s partner in the development and distribution of the Comirnaty Covid-19 vaccine in greater China.

In Taiwan, shares of chipmaking company Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company fell 3.03%. It came after Intel announced it would spend $ 20 billion to build two new chip factories in Arizona.

Meanwhile, Chinese streaming company Bilibili said on Tuesday it would raise HK $ 20.2 billion (roughly $ 2.6 billion) in its next secondary listing in Hong Kong after valuing its shares at 808. Hong Kong dollars each. Bilibili shares are expected to start trading in Hong Kong on Monday.

Currencies and oil

The US dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 92.409 after rising from levels below 91.8 earlier in the week.
The Japanese yen traded at 108.58 to the dollar, down from levels around 108.9 against the greenback earlier this week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $ 0.7598 after falling more than $ 0.768 yesterday.

Oil prices were higher in the afternoon of trading hours in Asia, with international benchmark Brent futures rising 1.04% to $ 61.42 a barrel. US crude futures were up 0.93% to $ 58.30 per barrel.

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