Asian stocks ended mostly lower on Monday as Beijing’s widening technology sector crackdown overshadowed investor optimism over economic and earnings growth.
Investors also turned their attention to the U.S. Federal Open Market Committee meeting this week for clues on the timing of stimulus tapering.
China’s Shanghai Composite Index tumbled 82.96 points, or 2.3 percent, to close at 3,467.44 amid concerns over China’s crackdowns on industries from tech to real estate and education firms.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index plunged 1,129.66 points, or 4.1 percent, to 26,192.32, as tech firms took another hit from China’s clampdown on the sector.
Tencent Holdings plummeted 7.7 percent after China’s market regulator said it would bar the company from exclusive music copyright agreements.
Japanese shares posted strong gains as traders returned to their desks after a four-day weekend that marked the opening of the Tokyo Olympics.
The Nikkei 225 Index climbed 285.29 points, or 1 percent, to 27,833.29, while the broader Topix closed 1.1 percent higher at 1,925.62.
Tokyo Steel Manufacturing soared 9.3 percent after raising its earnings forecast. Nippon Steel jumped 3.7 percent and JFE Holdings surged 4.7 percent. Nidec tumbled 3.2 percent after the company stuck to its full-year forecast.
Heavyweight SoftBank Group dropped 2.1 percent on concerns over China’s abrupt crackdown on Didi and other tech firms.
The manufacturing sector in Japan continued to expand in July, albeit at a slower pace, the latest survey from Jibun Bank revealed, with a manufacturing PMI score of 52.2. That’s down from 52.4 in June.
Australian markets gave up early gains to end marginally lower after three straight sessions of gains. Gold miners Evolution, Newcrest and Regis Resources dropped about 2 percent as bullion prices fell.
Energy stocks such as Oil Search, Origin Energy, Santos and Woodside Petroleum gave up 1-2 percent as oil prices fell nearly $1 barrel in Asian trading on concerns about fuel demand due to the spread of COVID-19 variants as well as floods in China.
Commercial property giant GPT Group lost 2.7 percent after withdrawing its 2021 guidance. Lynas shares soared 10.6 percent after the rare earth producer reported record revenue in its fourth quarter. BHP, Mineral Resources and Rio Tinto climbed 1-2 percent, while OZ Minerals surged 3.9 percent.
Seoul stocks ended notably lower after health authorities decided to tighten social-distancing rules across most of the country amid worries that the worst-ever COVID-19 wave might spread further during the summer holiday season.
The benchmark Kospi slid 29.47 points, or 0.9 percent, to 3,224.95, with SK Hynix and LG Chem both falling around 1.3 percent.
New Zealand shares ended lower, with the benchmark NZX-50 Index settling down 63.09 points, or 0.5 percent, at 12,673.23. A2 Milk shares slumped 6.4 percent on fears of Chinese regulation.
New Zealand posted a merchandise trade surplus of NZ$261 million in June, Statistics New Zealand said today, down from NZ$489 million in May. Exports climbed 17 percent year-on-year, while imports jumped 24 percent.
U.S. stocks finished at record highs on Friday after tech giants Snap and Twitter delivered better than expected earnings. The Dow climbed 0.7 percent, while the-heavy Nasdaq Composite and the S&P 500 both rallied about 1 percent.
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