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Asia report: Markets weaker as Hong Kong tech shares fall again

By Josh White

Date: Friday 30 Jul 2021

Asia report: Markets weaker as Hong Kong tech shares fall again

(Sharecast News) - Most equity markets closed lower in Asia on Friday, as technology shares in Hong Kong fell again at the end of a turbulent week for the sector.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 was down 1.8% at 27,283.59, as the yen weakened 0.07% against the dollar to last trade at JPY 109.56.

Of the major components on the benchmark index, automation specialist Fanuc plunged 6.21%, fashion firm Fast Retailing lost 0.95%, and technology conglomerate SoftBank Group was off 2.61%.

The broader Topix index ended the session down 1.37% by the end of trading in Tokyo, settling at 1,901.08.

On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite was 0.42% weaker at 3,397.36, and the smaller, technology-heavy Shenzhen Composite eked out gains of 0.06% to 2,385.62.

South Korea's Kospi closed down 1.24% to 3,202.32, while the Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong lost 1.35% to 25,961.03.

Chinese technology plays reversed Thursday's gains in the special administrative region, with Alibaba down 4.21%, Meituan off 5.87%, and Tencent losing 2.64%.

Tech shares in Greater China had suffered a rollercoaster week, having led a major sell-off on Monday and Tuesday amid regulatory concerns from Beijing authorities.

They had made a slight recovery on Thursday, after regulators in China said they would allow such firms to list in the United States, so long as they met certain rules.

The blue-chip technology stocks were weaker in Seoul, with Samsung Electronics down 0.63%, and SK Hynix losing 1.32%.

Oil prices were lower as the region entered the weekend, with Brent crude last down 0.17% at $75.92, and West Texas Intermediate off 0.33% to $73.38 per barrel.

"It's looking like a soggy end to July both in meteorological terms and with the markets as so-so numbers from Amazon and a sell-off in Asia linked to Covid concerns had a dampening effect on sentiment," said AJ Bell financial analyst Danni Hewson.

"As the flood of corporate updates on both sides of the Atlantic slows to a stream and then a trickle, we enter the summer lull for the markets - although this can be a dangerous time for equities.

"With experienced investors away from their desks on holiday and trading volumes lower, it sometimes doesn't take much for a market correction to begin and with Covid-19, inflationary pressures and regulatory crackdowns all in the background, there are plenty of potential catalysts for a sell-off."

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 slipped 0.33% to 7,392.60, as National Australia Bank added 0.62% after announcing a share buyback worth AUD 2.5bn.

The country's economic centre of Sydney saw a rise in Covid-19 cases overnight, despite a lockdown being extended by another four weeks.

Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand's S&P/NZX 50 was 1.06% weaker at 12,594.52, led lower by specialist dairy exporter A2 Milk, which was 4.6% lower by the end of trading in Wellington.

The down under dollars were both weaker against the greenback, with the Aussie last off 0.14% at AUD 1.3540, and the Kiwi retreating 0.01% to NZD 1.4267.

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