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James Hyerczyk
Asia Pacific Shares

The major Asia-Pacific stock indexes finished mostly higher on Friday with Australia bucking the trend as investors reacted positively to strong industrial profits from China for October. Traders showed little reaction to concerns over the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine candidate despite criticisms from U.S. experts on the results and methods used in their phase three vaccine trials.

In the cash market on Friday, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index settled at 26644.71, up 107.40 or +0.40%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index finished at 26894.68, up 75.23 or +0.28% and South Korea’s KOSPI Index closed at 2633.45, up 7.54 or +0.29%.

In China, the Shanghai Index settled at 3408.31, up 38.57 or 1.14% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index finished at 6601.10, down 35.30 or -0.53%.

China’s Industrial Profits Grow at Quickest Monthly Pace Since Early 2017

Profits at China’s industrial firms grew in October for a sixth consecutive month and at their quickest pace since early 2017, pointing to a steady recovery in the manufacturing sector after it was hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Profits at Chinese industrial firms surged 28.2% year-on-year in October to 642.91 billion yuan ($97.79 billion), National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) data showed on Friday, after rising 10.1% in September versus the previous year.

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China Stocks End Higher to Post Weekly Gains on Upbeat Data

China stocks rose on Friday to post weekly gains, as upbeat profits from industrial firms pointed to a continued recovery in the world’s second largest economy amid the coronavirus outbreak.

UBS has set a target of 5,450 and 6,300 at end-2021 and end-2022, respectively, for the blue-chip CSI300 Index, adding mainland households could raise exposure to onshore equities in the next two years.

In other news, a spurt of missed debt repayments by three Chinese state-owned firms – a coal miner, a chipmaker and an automobile company – has shaken local markets and heightened speculation that a campaign to wean the economy off heavy credit is back.

South Korea Stocks Gain for Fourth Straight Week on Vaccine Hopes, Exports Outlook

South Korean shares ended higher on Friday, gaining for a fourth straight week, helped by a slew of potentially successful coronavirus vaccines on the table and an upbeat outlook for November exports.

South Korea’s exports likely bounced back in November and are expected to continue recovering for the time being, supported by strong chip sales and global demand, a Reuters poll showed on Friday.

The KOSPI has risen 19.83% so far this year, and gained 11.2% in the previous 30 trading sessions.

Foreigners Net Buyers of Japanese Stocks for Third Week in a Row

Foreign investors remained net buyers of Japanese equities for a third straight week that ended November 20, buoyed by progress in a second coronavirus vaccine-related developments that rekindled hopes of a swift global economic recovery.

Overseas investors were net buyers of stocks worth 597.17 billion yen ($5.74 billion) last week, after purchasing over 1 trillion yen in each of the previous two weeks, data from Japanese exchanges showed.

They bought 333.18 billion yen in cash equities markets and 263.99 billion yen worth of derivatives.

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

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