The major Asia-Pacific stock indexes finished mixed but mostly higher on Monday with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng being dragged down by another plunge in shares of Alibaba. The markets were underpinned by a bullish tone on Wall Street after U.S. President Donald Trump signed a COVID relief and government funding bills days after he suggested he would block it.
In the cash market on Monday, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index settled at 26854.03, up 197.42 or +0.74%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng finished at 26314.63, down 71.93 or -0.27% and South Korea’s KOSPI Index closed at 2808.60, up 1.74 or +0.06%.
In China, the Shanghai Index settled at 3397.29, up 0.72 or +0.02%. The Australian stock market was closed for a bank holiday.
Hong Kong Stocks End Down as Techs Weigh
Hong Kong stocks declined on Monday, dragged down by tech firms, amid regulatory concerns after China’s central bank called for an overhaul at Ant Group, although upbeat China data curbed losses.
Falling the most, the Hang Seng Tech Index slumped 4.3%, while the Hang Seng IT Index dived 5.9%.
Hong Kong shares of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd dropped 8% in its sixth straight session of decline.
Shares in new economy companies, including Alibaba, Tencent and Meituan may stay under pressure, and it’s still early for investors to hunt for bargains now, Guodu Hong Kong said in a note.
China Stocks End Higher on Upbeat Data
China stocks closed higher on Monday, helped by strong industrial profit data that underscored a continued recovery in the world’s second-largest economy.
Profits at China’s industrial firms grew robustly in November for a seventh month of gains, supported by strong industrial production and sales, as manufacturers continue their recovery from the COVID-19 downturn.
In other news, China’s central bank disclosed on Sunday it had asked the country’s payments giant Ant Group Co Ltd to shake up its lending and other consumer finance operations, in the latest blow to its billionaire founder and controlling shareholder Jack Ma.
Trump Signs COVID Relief and Government Funding Bill
President Donald Trump signed a $900 billion coronavirus relief and government funding package into law on Sunday days after he suggested he would block it.
Trump averted a government shutdown late Sunday, and extended unemployment benefits to millions of Americans. The signing came days after Trump suggested he would veto the legislation, demanding $2,000 direct payments to Americans, instead of $600. U.S. stock index futures rose on the news.
Bank of Japan Divided on Stimulus Tweaks as Pandemic Stokes Deflation Fears
Bank of Japan (BOJ) policymakers were divided on how far to go in tweaking its stimulus program, with some calling for an overhaul of its strategy for achieving 2% inflation, a summary of views voiced at the December rate review showed.
The policy examination will focus on tweaking the BOJ’s purchases of exchange-traded funds (ETF) and operations for controlling the yield curve, according to the summary of the December 17 and 18 meeting released on Monday.
For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.