The major Asia-Pacific stock indexes finished mixed on Friday but mostly lower with the Nikkei the lone loser. Investors continued to monitor the coronavirus situation in India as cases continued to climb, with more than 332,000 new daily infections registered on Friday, while showing little reaction to a plunge in U.S. shares on Thursday.
In the cash market on Friday, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index settled at 29020.63, down 167.54, down 0.57%. South Korea’s KOSPI Index finished at 3186.10, up 8.58 or +0.27% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index closed at 29078.75, up 323.41 or +1.12%.
China’s Shanghai Index settled at 3474.17, up 9.05 or +0.26% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index finished at 7060.70, up 5.30 or +0.08%.
Asia-Pacific Investors Shrug-off US Tax Fears
Asia-Pacific stocks rose despite a steep overnight drop on Wall Street. The losses stateside came after reports from multiple outlets, including Bloomberg News and The New York Times, that U.S. President Joe Biden is seeking an increase in the tax on capital gains to 39.6% from 20% for Americans earning more than $1 million.
Investors probably felt U.S. tax news would have little impact on Asian companies. Additionally, it’s all talk now and could take months before the plan even reaches the U.S. Senate for a final vote. At that time, it will probably look a lot different than the initial proposal.
Japanese Shares Fall on Pandemic Concerns, Nidec Outlook
Japanese shares closed lower on Friday, as stricter government curbs to contain COVID-19 infections raised economic recovery concerns, while a disappointing forecast from Nidec added to the cautious mood at the start of the corporate earnings season.
Japan, which is struggling to contain a resurgence of coronavirus infections, plans to declare “short and powerful” states of emergency for Tokyo and other big cities from April 25 to May 11.
Nidec, a maker of precision motors used in computer hard drives and smartphones, tumbled 5.12% after its annual forecast for the current business year missed analysts’ consensus.
China Stocks Rise, Aided by Green Stocks, Healthcare Plays
China stocks rose on Friday as President Xi Jinping’s renewed green pledge bolstered clean energy stocks while a flare-up of coronavirus cases in some Asian countries helped support healthcare shares.
An index tracking China’s environment protection stocks rose over 1% after Chinese President Xi reiterated his pledge to make China carbon neutral by 2060. China will start phasing down coal use form 2026, Xi said at a summit of global leaders on Thursday.
Meanwhile, China’s healthcare stocks registered robust gains amid reports of rising COVID-19 cases in India and Japan.
For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.