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James Hyerczyk
Asia Pacific

The major Asia-Pacific stock indexes finished mixed on Wednesday as investors continued to monitor developments on the coronavirus front as the region tries to prevent an out of control spread. Meanwhile, political turmoil in the Washington had little bearing on the price action. Investors also kept an eye on the activity in the U.S. Treasury markets after the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note briefly traded at 1.187%, its highest level since March.

In the cash market on Wednesday, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index settled at 28456.59, up 292.25 or +1.04%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index finished at 28235.60, down 41.15 or -0.15% and South Korea’s KOSPI Index closed at 3148.29, up 22.34 or +0.71%.

In China, the benchmark Shanghai Index settled at 3148.29, up 22.34 or +0.71% and the Australian S&P/ASX 200 Index finished at 6686.60, up 7.50 or +0.11%.

Renewed Coronavirus Concerns

The Japanese government is set to expand the state of emergency to more areas on Wednesday, according to local media reports.

Kyodo News reported that Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is set to extend the current state of emergency to another seven prefectures including Osaka and Aichi on Wednesday, as the country’s cumulative total of coronavirus cases exceeded 300,000.

The government informed an advisory board of the planned expansion, which is expected to be approved by a government task force later in the day.

In China, local authorities in regions near Beijing are stepping up restrictions on social activity as new coronavirus cases grow.

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Washington Developments

Investors watched for developments from Washington, as U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said Tuesday night he will not remove President Trump from office. That came before the Democratic-held House approved a resolution urging Pence and the Cabinet to push Trump out of the White House after he allegedly incited last week’s riot on the Capitol.

Hong Kong Shares End Lower as Investors Pause After Recent Rallies

Hong Kong shares ended lower on Wednesday, with consumer shares leading the declines, as investors paused after a rally fueled by the south-bound bargain hunting from mainland investors.

In recent sessions, as U.S. investors dump shares in Chinese companies blacklisted by outgoing President Donald Trump, bargain hunters in China are taking the opposite side of that trade, wagering that a Joe Biden presidency will reverse the investment ban.

Bumper Jobs Data, US Stimulus Bets Push Australia Shares Higher

Australian shares settled higher on Wednesday as upbeat data pointed towards improving employment figures on the horizon, with energy stocks leading the charge on an upswing in oil prices.

Australian job vacancies in the country surged 23.4% to hit an all-time high in the November quarter, data showed, signaling the likelihood for stronger employment growth in the offing.

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