Asia-Pacific Shares Mixed in Volatile Session as Biden’s Stimulus Plan Fails to Impress InvestorsSouth Korean shares logged the fastest decline in more than two months as profit-taking eclipsed optimism over a U.S. stimulus plan.
The major Asia-Pacific stock indexes finished mixed in a volatile session on Friday.
Early in the trading session, Asian shares edged higher after U.S. President-elect Joe Biden proposed a $1.9 trillion stimulus plan to jump-start the world’s largest economy and accelerate its response to COVID-19. But that initial boost faded by the afternoon as risk appetite waned, lifting bond prices and the dollar, and hitting regional equities.
In the cash market, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index settled at 28519.18, down 179.08 or -0.62%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index finished at 28573.86, up 77.00 or +0.27% and South Korea’s KOSPI Index closed at 3085.90, down 64.03 or -2.03%.
China’s Shanghai Index settled at 3566.38, up 0.47 or +0.01% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index finished at 6715.40, up 0.10 or up 0.00%.
Biden Unveils COVID-19 Relief Plan
In prime-time remarks, Biden outlined a proposal that includes $415 billion aimed at the COVID-19 response, some $1 trillion in direct relief to households, and roughly $440 billion for small businesses and communities hard hit by the pandemic.
Biden’s proposal, called the American Rescue Plan, includes some familiar stimulus measures in the hope of sustaining families and companies till vaccines are widely distributed. Some of the proposed measures include stimulus checks as well as unemployment support.
Shares of Xiaomi in Hong Kong Plunge
Shares of Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi plunged on Friday after U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration placed the firm on a blacklist of alleged Chinese military companies. Hong Kong-listed shares of the Chinese firm were down 10.6% at the open on that news.
The move means that Xiaomi is now subject to a November executive order restricting American investors from buying shares or related securities of any companies designated by the Department of Defense to be a Chinese military company.
Hong Kong-listed shares of CNOOC, fell 1.1% – after the U.S. Commerce Department announcing Thursday it had added the firm to its entity list, which essentially restricts firms from receiving specific goods made in the U.S.
South Korea Stocks Snap 10th Straight Weekly Gain, Suffer Biggest Drop in Over 2 Months
South Korean shares on Friday logged the fastest decline in more than two months, towed by major heavyweights, as profit-taking and foreign selloff eclipsed optimism over a U.S. stimulus plan.
A majority of heavyweight stocks tumbled: Chip giants Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix fell 1.9% and 2.3%, respectively, while LG Chem and Hyundai Motor dropped 3.1% and 4.2%, respectively.
South Korea’s central bank kept its policy rate unchanged on Friday as the policy focus shifted away from an urgent need to support the economic recovery to growing risks from a hot stock market rally and booming household debt.
Nikkei Eases from Over 30-year High; Tech Gains Cap Declines
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei stock average snapped a five-session rally on Friday, slipping from a more than 30-year high hit in the previous session, while losses were capped by tech shares after Taiwanese chipmaker TSMC posted its best-ever quarterly profit.
TSMC also raised revenue and capital spending estimates, pushing the Philadelphia semiconductor index to a record high. That gave an additional boost to Japanese chip shares which were already in solid demand.