Asia Stocks Mostly Rise

Asia Stocks Mostly Rise

In Asia-Pacific trade on Wednesday, shares were mostly higher as investors continued to assess the impact of the omicron Covid variant.

The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong gained 0.34 percent in the final hour of trading, paring earlier gains of more than 1%. The Shanghai Composite fell slightly to 3,622.62, while the Shenzhen component gained 0.697 percent to 14,791.33.

The Nikkei 225 closed 0.16 percent higher at 28,562.21, while the Topix index rose nearly 0.1 percent to 1,971.51. The Kospi in South Korea gained 0.32 percent, closing the day at 2,984.48.

In other news, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 recovered from earlier losses, rising 0.13 percent on the day to 7,364.80.

The MSCI Asia Pacific ex-Japan index gained 0.32 percent. Singapore travel stocks fell on Wednesday after the country’s health ministry announced a freeze on new quarantine-free ticket sales beginning Thursday to limit exposure to imported omicron cases.

Singapore Airlines shares fell 1.02 percent, while SATS shares fell 0.26 percent. These movements contrasted with gains in travel stocks seen elsewhere in the region. Japan Airlines shares rose 2.68 percent in Japan, while ANA Holdings rose 1.17 percent. Qantas Airways of Australia rose 0.41 percent.

Cathay Pacific shares rose 0.79 percent in Hong Kong, while China Eastern Airlines fell 0.35 percent.

Tech Shares

In Hong Kong, shares of Chinese tech behemoths pared earlier gains but remained primarily positive. Alibaba was up 0.44 percent, Tencent was up 0.14 percent, and Meituan was down 0.26 percent. The Hang Seng Tech index gained 0.91 percent.

Softbank Group’s stock fell 0.24 percent in Japan. In comparison, South Korean-listed shares of chipmaker SK Hynix rose 2.01 percent, and Kakao Games rose 2.72 percent.

These moves followed similar gains by their US counterparts earlier in the day, with the Nasdaq Composite rising 2.4 percent to 15,341.09.

Other major Wall Street indexes saw significant gains. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 560.54 points to 35,492.70, and the S&P 500 rose 1.78 percent to 4,649.23. Following recent wild swings in the Turkish lira, the country’s president announced a plan to support the currency and protect local deposits from market movements on Wednesday.

The lira was the last trading at 12.546 per dollar, which is still significantly higher than the record low seen earlier this week when it was trading above the 18-level against the greenback. The US dollar index, which measures the greenback’s value against a basket of currencies, was at 96.585, up from levels below 94 seen late last week.

The Japanese yen was trading at 114.17 per dollar, having recently fallen from levels below 113.7. The Australian dollar was trading at $0.7135, up from less than 0.712 earlier in the week.