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James Hyerczyk
Asia Pacific Shares

The major Asia Pacific stock indexes are expected to open steady to better on Friday in a cautious trade as investors react to the better-than-expected performance on Wall Street on Thursday. This follows steep losses the previous session.

Thursday Recap

The Asia-Pacific markets saw losses on Thursday, following an overnight drop on Wall Street.

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Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell 1.82% to close at 23,311.07. Mainland Chinese stocks slipped on the day, with the Shanghai Composite down 1.72% to approximately 3223.18 while the Shenzhen Component declined 2.238% to about 12,816.61.

The Taiex in Taiwan dropped 2.54% to close at 12,264.38. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 fell 1.11% to finish its trading day at 23,087.82 while the Topix Index shed 1.08% to close at 1,626.44.

Over in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 declined 0.81% on the day to 5,875.90.

Tech Shares Led the Decline

Technology shares in Asia took a hit on Thursday, following losses seen by their counterparts stateside.

In Japan, conglomerate Softbank Group saw its stock drop 4.52%. Kakao in South Korea also fell 3.69%. In Hong Kong, shares of Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi slipped 4.84% while Tencent declined 1.75%, with the Hang Seng Tech Index falling 3.35% on the day to 7,054.28. Meanwhile, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company shares in Taiwan shed 2.42%.

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Friday’s Early Forecast

Asian stocks were set to open steady to higher as a late Wall Street rally supported global sentiment although weak U.S. data and uncertainty about a stimulus package in Washington have kept a lid on confidence.

U.S. stocks ended positive in choppy trading on Thursday, led by a dogged comeback in the technology sector, having initially sold off on higher than expected unemployment claims.

In early Asian trade, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 futures rose 0.12% and Japan’s Nikkei 225 futures added 0.13%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index futures rose 0.45%.

In the U.S., Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives are working on a $2.2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package that could be voted on as soon as next week, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reiterating she is ready to negotiate on it with the White House.

Keep An Eye on South Korea

Asia Pacific investors will be keeping an eye on South Korea after stocks fell on Thursday as tensions on the Korean Peninsula reignited.

The index lost 2.59% following reports that South Korea’s defense ministry said North Korea had killed a missing official from the South earlier this week.

Traders will be watching to see if the situation gets diffused or if it escalates. Although the broad-based index fell sharply, shares of South Korean defense firm Victek soared 25.13%.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

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