Asian Shares Mixed As China COVID Concerns Weigh

Asian stocks turned in a mixed performance on Wednesday as investors fretted about a surge in new Covid infections in some Chinese cities and monitored the U.S midterm election results. Thursday’s U.S. CPI data also remained on investors’ radar.

Chinese shares ended lower as COVID-19 cases in the country continued to surge and inflation data painted a rather gloomy picture. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index slid 0.5 percent to close at 3,048.17.

China’s consumer inflation slowed more than expected in October, while the annualized producer price index fell for the first time in October since December 2020, separate reports showed.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index slumped 1.2 percent to 16,358.52 on concerns that a Republican win in U.S. midterm elections may lead to increased scrutiny on Chinese tech firms.

Japanese shares fell from a two-month high as energy stocks declined, offsetting gains in the tech sector. The Nikkei 225 Index dropped 0.6 percent to 27,716.43, while the broader Topix closed 0.4 percent lower at 1,949.49.

Inpex Corp. gave up 3 percent after a sharp decrease in crude prices overnight on China demand concerns. Electric-vehicle battery manufacturer GS Yuasa lost 7.4 percent after reporting disappointing earnings.

Nintendo plummeted 7.1 percent after the videogame maker reduced its Switch sales forecast for the year ending March 2023.

Seoul stocks extended gains for a fourth straight session as investors watched the U.S. midterm election results.

The Kospi climbed 1.1 percent to 2,424.41 as the Korean won strengthened amid continued buying by foreign investors. SK Hynix gained 1.7 percent and LG Chem added 3.5 percent.

Australian markets rose for a fourth consecutive session as higher iron ore prices lifted mining stocks. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 0.6 percent to 6,999.30, while the broader All Ordinaries Index gained 0.5 percent to end at 7,187.40.

Miners BHP, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals Group rallied 2-3 percent. National Australia Bank fell 0.9 percent after forecasting slower lending growth from rising interest rates.

Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand’s benchmark S&P NZX-50 Index finished marginally lower at 11,143.48.

U.S. stocks rose for a third straight session overnight as traders awaited the outcome of the U.S. midterm elections, which could affect government spending, new taxes and regulations.

The Dow rallied 1 percent to reach over two-month highs, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite rose half a percent and the S&P 500 gained 0.6 percent.

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