SINGAPORE – Asia-Pacific stocks were down sharply in trading on Wednesday as concerns about a global recovery from the pandemic weighed on investor sentiment.
The Nikkei 225 in Japan fell 1.1% in morning trading, while the Topix index was down 1.49%. In South Korea, the Kospi fell 0.11%.
Mainland Chinese stocks were also down, with the Shanghai composite down 0.5% while the Shenzhen component lost 0.308%. The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong fell 0.49%.
Shares in Australia bucked the general trend regionally as the S & P / ASX 200 gained 0.55%.
MSCI’s broader Asia-Pacific stock index outside of Japan was trading 0.43% lower.
Many regions globally are seeing an increase in new Covid-19 cases as highly contagious variants continue to spread, the World Health Organization said earlier this week. In Europe, authorities continue to fight the virus as the region battles a third wave of Covid.
In corporate developments, Chinese Internet giant Tencent will announce its annual and fourth-quarter results on Wednesday. Shares of Tencent in Hong Kong rose more than 1% in trading on Wednesday morning.
In Taiwan, shares of chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company fell more than 2% in trading on Wednesday morning. That came after Intel announced that it will spend $ 20 billion to build two new chip factories in Arizona.
Meanwhile, Chinese transmission company Bilibili announced on Tuesday that it will raise HK $ 20.2 billion (about US $ 2.6 billion) in its next Hong Kong secondary listing after pricing its shares at HK $ 808. each. Bilibili’s shares are expected to begin trading in Hong Kong on Monday.
Coins and oil
The US dollar index, which tracks the dollar against a basket of its peers, stood at 92.383 after rising from levels below 91.8 earlier in the week.
The Japanese yen was trading at 108.54 to the dollar, compared with levels of around 108.9 against the dollar seen earlier this week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $ 0.761 after falling from above $ 0.768 yesterday.
Oil prices were mixed on the morning of Asian business hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures rising 0.13% to $ 60.87 a barrel. US crude futures were below the flat line, trading at $ 57.75 a barrel.