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Asia-Pacific Stocks Mostly Lower, Shenzhen Slips on Xi Jinping’s Speech

Stocks in Asia-Pacific were lower on Wednesday, as investors reacted to a speech from Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Mainland Chinese stocks were lower on the day, with the Shanghai composite down 0.56% to about 3,340.78 while the Shenzhen component declined 0.779% to around 13,691.04. The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong closed fractionally higher at 24,667.09.

Hong Kong-listed shares of China Evergrande Group tanked by 16.96% after the firm announced a share placement with estimated gross proceeds of 4.3 billion Hong Kong dollars ($555 million).

That came following reports that the company was looking to raise up to $1.1 billion from the share placement. The property developer has been in the spotlight recently amid concerns over its cash position.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 bucked the overall trend among the region’s major markets as it rose 0.11% to close at 23,626.73 while the Topix index shed 0.32% to end its trading day at 1,643.90. South Korea’s Kospi declined 0.94% to close at 2,380.48.

Meanwhile, shares in Australia were lower, with the S&P/ASX 200 slipping 0.27% to close at 6,179.20.

The Straits Times index in Singapore dipped 0.54% in the afternoon, after official estimates showed the country’s economy contracted 7% in the third quarter as compared to a year ago.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan declined 0.17%.

Investors reacted to a speech by Chinese President Xi Jinping in Shenzhen on Wednesday, as the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone celebrated the 40th anniversary of its establishment.

Xi emphasized the importance of protecting the “legitimate rights and interests of entrepreneurs, property rights as well as intellectual property rights in accordance with the law,” according to a translation of his speech. That would “motivate entrepreneurs to start up and develop their businesses,” he said.

State media outlet Xinhua reported Sunday that the country “unveiled a new comprehensive reform plan for Shenzhen,” giving local authorities there a “more direct and greater say in business” in areas such as carrying out market-based economic reforms.

Shares of Apple suppliers in the region were also watched on Wednesday after the Cupertino-based tech giant unveiled its latest iPhone lineup on Tuesday.

In Japan, shares of Taiyo Yuden slipped 0.27% while Murata Manufacturing added 0.62%. Over in South Korea, LG Display jumped 1.86%. Largan Precision’s stock in Taiwan dipped 0.67% while Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company shed 0.65%.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 93.575 following levels below 93.3 seen earlier this week.

The Japanese yen traded at 105.39 per dollar, having seen levels around 105.3 against the greenback earlier in the trading week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7172 following its decline this week from levels above $0.72.

Oil prices edged lower in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures down 0.28% to $42.33 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also shed 0.32% to $40.07 per barrel.

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