Asian Markets Mixed, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Drop Nearly 2%

Stocks in Asia-Pacific were mixed on Thursday, as investors monitored shares of developer China Evergrande Group in Hong Kong.

Evergrande shares dropped 12.54%, having returned to trade on Thursday after a halt that lasted more than two weeks.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 led losses among the region’s markets as it slipped 1.87% to close at 28,708.58 while the Topix index fell 1.32% to 2,000.81. South Korea’s Kospi edged 0.19% lower, closing at 3,007.33.

Asian Markets Chart
Nikkei 225 Index Performance Chart

The debt-laden firm announced in an exchange filing late Wednesday that a deal to sell a 50.1% stake in its property services business to another developer Hopson had fallen through.

Evergrande, which has already missed multiple coupon payments for its bonds, also warned: “there is no guarantee that the Group will be able to meet its financial obligations under the relevant financing documents and other contracts.”

Shares of Evergrande Property Services Group, which also resumed trading on Thursday, plunged 8.01%, while Hopson shares jumped 7.57%. The Hang Seng Properties index climbed 2.02% to 31,488.41.

The broader Hang Seng index in Hong Kong slipped 0.45% on the day to 26,017.53. Mainland Chinese stocks closed mixed, with the Shanghai composite up 0.22% to 3,594.78 while the Shenzhen component dipped fractionally to 14,444.86.

Australian stocks were little changed as the S&P/ASX 200 closed largely flat at 7,415.40, while the MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan nudged 0.42% lower.

Investors also watched for movements in bitcoin after the cryptocurrency recently passed the $66,900 level and touched a fresh all-time high. It later pared some of those gains and was last trading at $65,468.50 as of 4:16 a.m. ET Thursday, according to Coin Metrics.

Asian Markets Currencies and Oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 93.659 — still off levels above 94 seen earlier this week.

The Japanese yen traded at 114.07 per dollar after strengthening from above 114.4 against the greenback yesterday. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7485, holding on to gains after climbing from below $0.744 earlier this week.

Oil prices were lower in the afternoon of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures slipping 0.93% to $85.02 per barrel. U.S. crude futures fell 0.68% to $82.85 per barrel.