Asian Shares Mixed As Recession Worries Persist

Asian shares ended mixed on Wednesday as recession worries persisted, and China continued to grapple with a surge in the number of new Covid-19 cases.

The Japanese yen weakened slightly after having jumped to a four-month high versus the dollar on Tuesday following a surprise Bank of Japan policy tweak.

Gold dipped from a one-week high hit in the previous session, while oil edged up slightly as a drawdown in U.S. crude stocks countered China Covid concerns.

China’s Shanghai Composite Index slipped 0.2 percent to 3,068.41 after a range-bound session. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index edged up 0.3 percent to settle at 19,160.49.

Japanese shares extended losses for a fifth straight session following the BoJ’s unexpected hawkish pivot. The Nikkei 225 Index dropped 0.7 percent to 26,387.72, while the broader Topix closed 0.6 percent lower at 1,893.32. Automakers Toyota, Honda Motor and Nissan lost 2-3 percent.

Banks extended gains from the previous session on expectations that they would benefit from the BoJ policy tweak. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group both surged around 4 percent.

Seoul stocks ended modestly lower, with the Kospi average finishing down 0.2 percent at 2,328.95.

Australian markets bounced back from four days of losses, led by miners and energy stocks. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index rallied 1.3 percent to 7,115.10 points, after losing 2.5 percent over the previous four sessions. The broader All Ordinaries Index ended 1.3 percent higher at 7,293.

Strong overnight bullion prices lifted gold miners, with Newcrest Mining climbing 6.5 percent. Energy stocks such as Woodside Energy and Santos rose around 2.7 percent each.

TPG Telecom lost 1.1 percent as the antitrust regulator blocked an asset transfer deal between Telstra and TPG.

Across the Tasman, New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 Index closed 0.4 percent higher at 11,452.05. Power utility Vector gained 1 percent after it agreed to the sale of a 50 percent stake in its metering business.

U.S. stocks eked out modest gains overnight to snap a four-day losing streak despite concerns about the upcoming earnings season and winter holiday shopping.

The Dow rose 0.3 percent and the S&P 500 edged up 0.1 percent, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite ended flat with a positive bias.

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