Asian stocks ended mixed on Friday as investors fretted over developments in Afghanistan and watched for any potential shift in U.S. Federal Reserve policy.
Investors awaited Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s speech at the Fed’s annual Jackson Hole gathering for details on how and when the U.S. central bank might look to taper its monetary policy.
Chinese stocks advanced despite reports that the government will propose new regulations targeting companies seeking foreign listing via units incorporated outside the country. The benchmark Shanghai Composite index rose 20.49 points, or 0.59 percent, to 3,522.16 while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index ended little changed with a negative bias.
Japanese shares fell slightly, with the Nikkei average ending down 101.15 points, or 0.36 percent, at 27,641.14. The broader Topix index slipped 0.34 percent to settle at 1,928.77 ahead of busy week of economic releases, including U.S. jobs data for August and flash Eurozone inflation figures.
Market heavyweight SoftBank Group eased 0.4 percent and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing ended down over 1 percent.
Takeda dropped half a percent to extend losses for the fourth straight session after the drug maker and the government said Japan would halt the use of more than one million doses of Moderna’s Covid vaccine.
Australian shares ended marginally lower to extend losses for a second straight session as tech stocks followed their U.S. peers lower on fears of a dramatic shift in the Fed’s approach to monetary policy.
Appen plunged 6.1 percent and NEXTDC plummeted 5.4 percent in the tech sector. Banks ended on a mixed note while Lynas Rare Earths, the world’s biggest rare earths miner outside China, slumped 4.3 percent after a warning about over-investment.
Airline Qantas rallied 2.2 percent after saying it expected overseas travel to resume late this year. Retail conglomerate Wesfarmers lost 2.8 percent after warning that recent lockdowns had hammered sales across its divisions.
Seoul stocks ended slightly higher after a choppy session. The benchmark Kospi edged up 5.37 points, or 0.17 percent, to 3,133.90 ahead of comments from the chief of the Federal Reserve at the annual Jackson Hole gathering.
New Zealand shares finished marginally higher after Vista, the global leader in cinema management software, said blockbuster movies had started returning to cinemas in key markets. Vista shares soared 8.4 percent.
U.S. stocks retreated from record highs overnight, with news of bombings at the Kabul airport and hawkish comments from non-voting members of the Federal Open Market Committee weighing on sentiment.
In economic news, the latest jobless claims and annualized gross domestic product data slightly missed estimates. The Dow dropped half a percent, while the S&P 500 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite shed around 0.6 percent each.
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