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Asia Pacific Market Mixed as Alibaba Soars Despite Regulatory Concerns

Shares in Asia-Pacific were mixed on Tuesday, with South Korea leading major markets regionally.

By end of trading on Tuesday, the Kospi in South Korea was 1.07% higher, at 3,169.08 while in Japan, the Nikkei 225 rose 0.72% to close at 29,751.61 while the Topix index gained 0.2% to finish the trading day at 1,958.55.

Mainland Chinese stocks closed mixed. The Shanghai composite shed 0.48% to 3,396.47 while the Shenzhen component rose 0.242% to 13,528.31. The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong climbed 0.15% to close at 28,497.25.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 ended the day fractionally higher at 6,976.90 while the MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was little changed.

In Hong Kong, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba rose 0.43% on Tuesday, adding to gains of more than 6% on Monday after the regulator fined the company for abusing it’s market dominance. The Chinese central bank announced Monday that Alibaba’s financial technology affiliate Ant Group is to restructure as a financial holding company.

Asian
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, (Hong Kong Stock Exchange) share price activity chart

 

Hong Kong-listed shares of chipmaker SMIC also jumped 1.19% during Asian trading hours. Other Hong Kong-listed Chinese tech firms declined. Tencent slipped 0.9% while Meituan plunged 7.44%. The broader Hang Seng TECH index fell 1.6% to 8,038.81.

Tech titans Tencent and Meituan were among 34 firms mentioned in a statement released Tuesday by Chinese regulators that warned so-called “platform companies” to make sure they examine their actions and rectify any anti-competitive practices within a month. It comes just days after Alibaba was slapped with a $2.8 billion fine for violating anti-monopoly rules.

China’s exports in March rose 30.6% from a year ago, according to customs data released Tuesday. Economists had expected exports to grow 35.5% from a year ago, according to a Reuters poll.

Chinese imports for March jumped 38.1% from a year earlier, above expectations in a Reuters poll for a 23.3% on-year increase.

Overnight stateside, the S&P 500 ended its trading day little changed at 4,127.99 while the Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 55.2 points to close at 33,745.40. The Nasdaq Composite slipped 0.36% on the day to 13,850.

The muted moves on Wall Street came as investors waited for the release of inflation numbers due out on Tuesday stateside.

Asian Markets Currencies & Oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 92.153 — largely struggling to recover following last week’s slip from above 92.8.

The Japanese yen traded at 109.35 per dollar, stronger than levels above 109.5 against the greenback seen yesterday. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7613, lower than levels above $0.765 seen in the previous trading week.

Oil prices were little changed in the afternoon of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures higher by 0.3% at $63.47 per barrel. U.S. crude futures were flat as they traded at $59.80 per barrel.