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Asia report: Markets mixed amid fresh Covid warnings from the WHO

By Josh White

Date: Wednesday 08 Jul 2020

Asia report: Markets mixed amid fresh Covid warnings from the WHO

(Sharecast News) - Markets in Asia finished in a mixed state on Wednesday, as the World Health Organization issued fresh warnings about the global state of the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 was down 0.78% at 22,438.65, as the yen weakened 0.06% against the dollar to last trade at JPY 107.58.

Of the major components on the benchmark index, automation specialist Fanuc was down 1.13%, fashion firm Fast Retailing lost 0.37%, and technology conglomerate SoftBank Group was off 2.76%.

The broader Topix index was 0.92% weaker by the end of trading in Tokyo, closing at 1,557.23.

On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite was 1.74% firmer at 3,403.44, and the smaller, technology-heavy Shenzhen Composite was ahead 1.88% at 2,198.62.

Stocks in China have spent the week thus far well above the waterline, after Shanghai's share market rocketed almost 6% on Monday.

That was fuelled by a piece from the politburo-backed China Securities Journal, which encouraged securities buying by telling investors to expect a "healthy bull market" and be looking forward to the "wealth effect of the capital markets".

Whether the positive movements in the People's Republic were being underpinned by actual market fundamentals, or just feel-good positive sentiment, was being questioned by analysts and market watchers, however.

"The bullish move that was seen at the start of the week was triggered by an editorial in the CSJ," explained CMC Markets analyst David Madden.

"The article talked about the possibility of a bullish run in Chinese equities, and in turn there was a surge in domestic stocks, and that paved the way for the upward move in world stock markets on Monday."

South Korea's Kospi was off 0.24% at 2,158.88, while the Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong was ahead 0.59% at 26,129.18.

Both of the blue-chip technology stocks were weaker in Seoul, with Samsung Electronics down 0.75% and chipmaker SK Hynix losing 1.3%.

The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic was again at the top of the agenda on Wednesday, after an official from the World Health Organization (WHO) said it should not be a surprise if coronavirus death rates began to rise again.

Reported cases accelerated on a global basis in June, while death rates continued to fall, with the WHO pointing to the fact that there was a lag between infections and deaths, measurable in weeks.

Cases have recently surged in the United States, with Texas once again breaking its daily record on Tuesday, with 10,000 fresh Covid-19 infections.

Officials in the Australian state of Victoria, meanwhile, have imposed a fresh six-week lockdown on the metropolitan area surrounding the state capital Melbourne.

Oil prices were lower as the region went to bed, with Brent crude last down 0.14% at $43.02 per barrel, and West Texas Intermediate falling 0.3% to $40.50.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 was off 1.54% at 5,920.30, while across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand's S&P/NZX 50 was 0.31T weaker at 11,707.27.

Both of the down under dollars were weaker on the greenback, with the Aussie last off 0.08% at AUD 1.4406, and the Kiwi retreating 0.09% to NZD 1.5289.


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