Stocks in Asia-Pacific struggled for direction on Thursday as tech shares in the region bounced from recent declines.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 closed 0.68% higher at 25,520.88 while the Topix index ended its trading day 0.16% lower at 1,726.23. In South Korea, the Kospi shed 0.41% to close at 2,475.62.
Mainland Chinese stocks were mixed on the day, with the Shanghai composite dipping 0.11% to around 3,338.68 while the Shenzhen component gained 0.524% to about 13,792.07. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index declined 0.22 to finish its trading day at 26,169.38.
Shares of Australia declined by their close, with the S&P/ASX 200 dipping 0.49% to 6,418.20.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan dipped fractionally.
Tech stocks bounce
Technology shares in the region rose on Thursday after the sector bounced back on Wall Street overnight.
Hong Kong-listed shares of Chinese tech firms mostly soared Thursday: Tencent gained 4.72% while Xiaomi jumped 3.56% and JD.com surged 7.67%. Alibaba also added 1.85%. The moves came after China’s tech giants sold off on Wednesday amid potential anti-monopoly rules.
In Japan, Softbank Group shares jumped 1.49%. Game maker Nintendo also surged 4.3%. Over in South Korea, Kakao’s stock gained 0.56%.
In recent sessions, investors have moved out of technology and “stay-at-home” stocks in favor of cyclicals that would benefit from an economic recovery. That came following a Monday announcement by Pfizer and BioNTech that their coronavirus vaccine was more than 90% effective in preventing Covid-19 among those without evidence of prior infection.
Still, the pandemic situation remains severe, with the U.S. recently setting a new record of average daily cases while the United Kingdom reported its highest daily deaths since May.
Overnight on Wall Street, the S&P 500 closed 0.8% higher at 3,572.66 while the Nasdaq Composite ended its trading day 2% higher at 11,786.43. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lagged as it close 23.29 points lower at 29,397.63.
Currencies and oil
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 93.004 after seeing an earlier low of 92.924.
The Japanese yen traded at 105.30 per dollar, still off levels below 104.3 against the greenback seen earlier this week. The Australian dollar was at $0.7255, having seen levels around $0.73 yesterday.
Oil prices edged higher in the afternoon of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up 0.11% to $43.85 per barrel. U.S. crude futures added 0.12% to $41.50 per barrel.