Asian Markets Shares Mostly Higher; SMIC Shares in Hong Kong Slide

Stocks in Asia-Pacific were mostly higher in Thursday trade, with shares in Hong Kong lagging among the region’s major markets.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 gained 0.96% to close at 23,647.07 while the Topix index advanced 0.55% to end its trading day at 1,655.47.

South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.21% on the day to 2,391.96. Shares of industry heavyweight Samsung Electronics dipped 0.33%. The firm announced earlier its profit for the three months that ended in September likely rose 58% from a year ago.

Stocks in Australia also saw gains, with the S&P/ASX 200 up 1.09% to close at 6,102.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index lagged among the region’s major markets, slipping 0.36%, as of its final hour of trading. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan added 0.62%.

Hong Kong-listed shares of SMIC fell 1.37% in afternoon trade after S&P Global Ratings placed the chipmaker on a negative credit watch. SMIC currently has a long-term issuer credit rating of “BBB-,” according to S&P Global Ratings.

The ratings firm warned that the company could potentially face supply chain risks, with likely export restrictions from the U.S. It said it could lower the rating if the export restrictions “significantly disrupt” the firm’s wafer fabrication, limit its ability to expand capacity — among other factors that could weaken profitability.

The move downward in SMIC shares came as Chinese tech stocks in the city saw mixed moves: Xiaomi dropped 5.07%, Tencent was flat while Alibaba advanced 0.56%. The Hang Seng Tech index shed 0.22%.

Investors likely continued watching for developments on U.S. stimulus support, after President Donald Trump tweeted support for aid to airlines and other stimulus measures. That was in contrast to Tuesday, when he said the White House is halting stimulus negotiations with the Democrats.

“Piecemeal US fiscal stimulus doesn’t supplant the need for a more comprehensive stimulus package,” Kim Mundy, a currency strategist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia, wrote in a note. “The absence of further fiscal support amid growing infections risks putting the US economic recovery in reverse.”

Meanwhile, on the virus treatment front, Eli Lilly said it’s seeking clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for emergency authorization of its Covid-19 antibody treatment.

Overnight stateside, shares on Wall Street soared amid hopes that a smaller aid package could be passed by lawmakers. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 530.70 points higher, or 1.9%, at 28,303.46 The S&P 500 jumped 1.7% to finish its trading day at 3,419.45 while the Nasdaq Composite rose 1.9% to close at 11,364.60.

Oil prices were higher in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up 0.86% to $42.35 per barrel. U.S. crude futures advanced 0.75% to $40.25 per barrel.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 93.505 after seeing an earlier low of 93.497.

The Japanese yen traded at 105.98 per dollar after an earlier low of 106.10 against the greenback. The Australian dollar was at $0.7162 following an earlier low of $0.712.

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