Asian Markets

Asian Markets Higher as Alibaba Slips on Supension of Ant Group IPO

Hong Kong-listed shares of Alibaba tanked on Wednesday after the anticipated initial public offering of affiliate Ant Group was suspended amid regulatory concerns.

By their Wednesday market close,, shares of Alibaba in Hong Kong plummeted 7.54%. Alibaba owns a roughly 33% stake in Ant Group.

On Monday, the Chinese central bank and regulators issued new draft rules for online micro-lending, which could affect Ant Group. Ant Group was looking to raise just under $34.5 billion in what would have been the world’s biggest IPO, with a dual listing in Shanghai and Hong Kong initially planned for Thursday.

The broader Hang Seng index in Hong Kong closed 0.21% lower at 24,886.14. Meanwhile, stocks in other major Asia-Pacific markets were higher in Wednesday trade.

Mainland Chinese stocks edged higher on the day, with the Shanghai composite up 0.19% to about 3,277.44 while the Shenzhen component advanced 0.585% to around 13,659.50.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 rose 1.72% to close at 23,695.23 while the Topix index advanced 1.2% to finish its trading day at 1,627.25. South Korea’s Kospi closed 0.6% higher to 2,357.32.

Shares in Australia dipped, as the S&P/ASX 200 closed fractionally lower at 6,062.10 while the  MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was little changed.

Oil prices were higher in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up 0.55% to $39.93 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also gained 0.42% to $37.82 per barrel.

On the economic data front, Australia’s retail turnover fell 1.1% in September 2020 on a seasonally-adjusted basis, according to the country’s Bureau of Statistics.

Following that data release, the Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7087, after an earlier high of $0.7221.

A private survey also showed China’s service sector activity growing in October, with the Caixin/Markit services Purchasing Managers’ index coming in at 56.8. PMI readings above 50 signify expansion, while those below that indicate contraction. PMI readings are sequential and represent on-month expansion or contraction.

Investor focus on Wednesday was also likely on the U.S. presidential election between incumbent Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden. As of Wednesday afternoon Singapore time, no clear winner had emerged in a tight contest between the two.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 93.884 following an earlier low of 93.092.

The Japanese yen, often seen as a safe-haven currency, traded at 104.94 per dollar after seeing an earlier high of 104.35 against the greenback.

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