Asia-Pacific Markets – Mixed but Mostly Higher; China’s Gains Not Enough to Offset Steep Weekly Losses

The major Asia-Pacific stock indexes finished mixed but mostly higher on Friday with Australian shares losing ground. China gained on Friday, but posted its biggest weekly drop in eight as U.S.-China tensions weighed on prices.

Hong Kong shares eked out a gain on a tech share rebound. South Korea stocks reversed earlier losses to end flat on big retail buying. Japan’s Nikkei gained as coronavirus fears eased in Tokyo and Australian shares ended near a 2-1/2 month low on worries about virus curbs.

In the cash market on Friday, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index settled at 23406.49, up 171.02 or +0.74%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index finished at 24503.31, up 189.77 or +0.78% and South Korea’s KOSPI Index closed at 2396.69, up 0.21 or +0.01%.

In China, the Shanghai Index settled at 3260.35, up 25.52 or +0.79% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index finished at 5859.40, down 49.10 or -0.83%.

China Shares Post Biggest Weekly Drop in Eight as U.S.-China Rift Weighs

Chinese shares recovered lost ground to end higher on Friday, though the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index posted its biggest weekly drop in eight as Beijing’s rift with Washington had investors sticking to safer assets.

Meanwhile, U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday the deadline set for Chinese company ByteDance to sell its popular short-video app TikTok’s U.S. assets would not be extended. ByteDance has been looking to pick a buyer so it can finalize a deal by mid-September and comply with Trump’s order to divest TikTok’s assets.

Hong Kong Shares Eke Out Gains on Tech Rebound

Hong Kong shares bounced on Friday, as investors snapped up tech stocks hit by this week’s sell-off, though the benchmark index ended lower for the week as economic worries and U.S.-China tensions continued to weigh on sentiment.

Gains were driven by a rebound in tech shares, which have suffered this week following a sell-off in U.S. technology shares.

South Korean Stocks Reverse Course to End Flat on Big Retail Buying

South Korean shares recouped all losses to close a little better than unchanged on Friday, finishing the week with a gain of over 1%, as more buying by retail investors offset weakness due to a rout in U.S. tech stocks and a rise in domestic cases of COVID-19.

Nikkei Gains as Coronavirus Fears Ease in Tokyo

Japanese shares rose to one-week highs on Friday, tracking U.S. futures higher, after the capital city of Tokyo dropped its coronavirus alert by one notch from the highest level as infections continue to decline.

Market participants said active buying on special quotation fixing to settle September Nikkei futures and options contributed to the rebound into positive territory.

Australian Shares End at a Near 2-1/2-Month Low on Worries about Virus Curbs

Australian shares closed at their lowest in nearly two-and-a-half months on Friday as hopes that the coronavirus curbs would ease soon were dashed after state leaders defended regional lockdowns and internal border closures.

Denting sentiment further were souring diplomatic ties with biggest trading partner China, with Beijing accusing the Australian embassy in China of obstructing law enforcement by sheltering two journalists wanted for questioning.

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