Asia-Pacific market

Asia-Pacific market

Investors weighed the risks associated with the Omicron COVID variant. Hence, Thursday’s Asian markets were mixed.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 fell 0.47 percent to 28,725.47. Meanwhile, the Topix index fell 0.57 percent to 1,990.79.

The ASX 200 in Australia fell 0.28 percent to 7,384.50, with most sectors closing lower. 

The subindices for energy and materials fell 1.09 percent and 0.51 percent, respectively. Rio Tinto and BHP’s shares fell 0.94 percent and 1.2 percent, respectively.

South Korean stocks rose, with the benchmark Kospi up 0.93 percent to 3,029.57 and the Kosdaq up 1.67 percent to 1,022.87.

Chinese mainland stocks rose as well. The Shanghai composite increased by 0.98 percent to 3,673.04, while the Shenzhen component increased by 1.23 percent to 15,147.87. Hong Kong stocks rose as well, with the main Hang Seng index rising 1.08 percent to 24,254.86 and the tech-focused Hang Seng Tech index rising 2.23 percent to 6,103.16.

Suncity shares have been halted pending an announcement regarding a possible loan default, according to Reuters, citing a company statement. According to the news agency, authorities arrested Suncity’s CEO last month for alleged involvement in cross-border gambling.

The Hong Kong-listed shares of major Chinese technology companies rose. Alibaba gained 2.32 percent, Baidu gained 1.52 percent. Moreover, Meituan gained 0.73 percent, and Tencent gained 1.2 percent.

India’s, Indonesia’s, and Singapore’s major indices rose Thursday afternoon. The major averages in the United States gained for the third day in a row while European shares fell.

Omicron variant

After a strong run in the previous two days, equities are taking a breather, with European shares closing lower amid concerns about the need for a new round of currency restrictions.

Investors are paying close attention to the Omicron COVID variant, which has roiled markets recently.

According to the World Health Organization, the variant could alter the course of the pandemic. Scientists around the world are scrambling to figure out how contagious and lethal Omicron is, as well as how effective existing vaccines would be against the virus. Meanwhile, Pfizer’s CEO stated that a fourth COVID-19 shot might become a necessity soon. It came after preliminary research revealed that the Omicron variant could undermine protective antibodies generated by the vaccine developed by the company in collaboration with BioNTech.