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Oct 14, 2020

Asian Markets Closing Report: Asia-Pacific stocks slip as investors react to speech by China's Xi; Evergrande shares in Hong Kong tumble

 

Eustance Huang


SINGAPORE — Stocks in Asia-Pacific were lower on Wednesday, as investors reacted to a speech from Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Mainland Chinese stocks were lower on the day, with the Shanghai composite down 0.56% to about 3,340.78 while the Shenzhen component declined 0.779% to around 13,691.04. The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong slipped fractionally, as of its final hour of trading.

Hong Kong-listed shares of China Evergrande Group tanked by more than 16% after the firm announced a share placement with estimated gross proceeds of 4.3 billion Hong Kong dollars ($555 million).

That came following reports that the company was looking to raise up to $1.1 billion from the share placement. The property developer has been in the spotlight recently amid concerns over its cash position.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 bucked the overall trend among the region’s major markets as it rose 0.11% to close at 23,626.73 while the Topix index shed 0.32% to end its trading day at 1,643.90. South Korea’s Kospi declined 0.94% to close at 2,380.48.

Meanwhile, shares in Australia were lower, with the S&P/ASX 200 slipping 0.27% to close at 6,179.20.

Over in Southeast Asia, the Straits Times index in Singapore dipped 0.62% after official estimates showed the country’s economy contracted 7% in the third quarter as compared to a year ago.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan declined 0.27%.

Xi’s speech

Investors reacted to a speech by Chinese President Xi Jinping in Shenzhen on Wednesday, as the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone celebrated the 40th anniversary of its establishment.

Xi emphasized the importance of protecting the “legitimate rights and interests of entrepreneurs, property rights as well as intellectual property rights in accordance with the law,” according to a translation of his speech. That would “motivate entrepreneurs to start up and develop their businesses,” he said.

State media outlet Xinhua reported Sunday that the country “unveiled a new comprehensive reform plan for Shenzhen,” giving local authorities there a “more direct and greater say in business” in areas such as carrying out market-based economic reforms.

Mixed picture for Apple suppliers

TICKER COMPANY NAME PRICE CHANGE %CHANGE
.N225Nikkei 225 IndexNIKKEI23626.7324.950.11
.HSIHang Seng IndexHSI24667.0917.410.07
.AXJOS&P/ASX 200ASX 2006179.20-16.50-0.27
.SSECShanghaiSHANGHAI3340.78-18.97-0.56
.KS11KOSPI IndexKOSPI2380.48-22.67-0.94
.FTFCNBCACNBC 100 ASIA IDXCNBC 1009547.080.230.00

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 93.591 following levels below 93.3 seen earlier this week.

The Japanese yen traded at 105.47 per dollar, having seen levels around 105.3 against the greenback earlier in the trading week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7159 following its decline this week from levels above $0.72.

Oil prices edged lower in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures down 0.64% to $42.18 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also shed 0.72% to $39.91 per barrel.

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