Asian stocks ended mixed on Monday, with Chinese and Hong Kong markets gaining ground on growth optimism, while markets elsewhere fell amid climbing coronavirus cases and worries about worsening U.S.-China relations.
Chinese and Hong Kong stocks rose after economic growth and industrial production data beat expectations. China’s Shanghai Composite index climbed 29.85 points, or 0.84 percent, to 3,596.22, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index ended up 288.91 points, or 1.01 percent, at 28,862.77.
China’s GDP climbed 6.5 percent year-on-year in the fourth quarter of 2020, the National Bureau of Statistics said – exceeding expectations for an increase of 6.1 percent and up from 4.9 percent in the three months prior.
Industrial production jumped an annual 7.3 percent in December, beating forecasts for 6.9 percent and up from 7.0 percent in November.
Retail sales gained an annual 4.6 percent last month, missing expectations for 5.5 percent and down from 6.0 percent in the previous month.
Fixed asset investment gained 2.9 percent year to date in December, missing expectations for 3.2 percent but still up from 2.6 percent in November.
Japanese shares fell sharply as investors booked profits in an overheated market. The Nikkei average fell 276.97 points, or 0.97 percent, to 28,242.21, while the broader Topix index closed 0.60 percent lower at 1,845.49.
Semi-conductor shares came under selling pressure, with Tokyo Electron declining 1.6 percent and Advantest losing 1.9 percent. Camera maker Nikon plummeted 6.8 percent after having risen over 20 percent earlier this month.
Australian markets fell notably as news of a new coronavirus cluster near Sydney dented sentiment. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index dropped 52.40 points, or 0.78 percent, to 6,663, while the broader All Ordinaries index ended down 51.40 points, or 0.74 percent, at 6,935.40.
Falling oil prices weighed on the energy sector, with Santos, Origin Energy. Oil Search and Beach Energy giving up 1-3 percent.
Woodside Petroleum ended modestly lower after saying the amount of liquefied natural gas (LNG) it supplies to German utility Uniper SE would be doubled under an expanded deal.
Mining heavyweights BHP and Rio Tinto fell 2.9 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively ahead of production reports due later in the week. The big four banks ended down between 0.8 percent and 1.5 percent.
Retail group JB Hi-Fi rallied 3.8 percent after preliminary figures indicated an 86 percent surge in net profit after tax for the first half of the year.
Seoul stocks tumbled amid news that the Trump administration will restrict licenses to several Huawei Technologies Co. suppliers. The benchmark Kospi slumped 71.97 points, or 2.33 percent, to 3,013.93.
Samsung Electronics lost 3.4 percent and Samsung SDI plunged 4.2 percent after the imprisonment sentence of Samsung heir Lee Jae-yong for bribery and other charges. No.2 chipmaker SK Hynix rose about 2 percent.
New Zealand shares fell for the sixth straight session, with the benchmark NZX-50 index ending down 186.33 points, or 1.43 percent, at 12,838.36, dragged down by energy stocks such as Meridian Energy and Contact Energy.
U.S. stocks sank on Friday, reflecting a negative reaction to earnings news from financial giants Wells Fargo, Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase and data showing a continued decline in retail sales in December.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.6 percent, the S&P 500 shed 0.7 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite gave up 0.9 percent.
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