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James Hyerczyk
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Asia-Pacific Stock Indexes

The major Asia-Pacific stock indexes finished mixed but mostly higher on Wednesday as investors shrugged-off worries over the rapidly spreading coronavirus Delta variant.

Although stocks in Japan finished lower, the other benchmarks were boosted by a private survey that showed accelerating Chinese services activity growth in July. Most indexes advanced to one-week highs with additional help from strong corporate earnings and successful global vaccine rollouts.

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On Wednesday, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index settled at 27584.08, down 57.75 or -0.21%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index finished at 26426.55, up 231.73 or +0.88% and South Korea’s KOSPI Index closed at 3280.38, up 43.24 or +1.34%.

In China, the benchmark Shanghai Index settled at 3280.38, up 43.24 or +1.34% and in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 Index finished at 7503.20, up 28.70 or +0.38%.

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China Shares Rise on Tech Bounce; Concerns over Virus Spread Cap Gains

A bounce back in tech shares lifted up China’s main stock indexes on Wednesday, as a private survey showed faster service sector growth, but worries over surging COVID-19 cases weighed on sentiment, keeping gains in check.

Tech shares rose across the board, with the CSI Info Tech sub-index gaining 2.42%. It fell 2.31% on Tuesday after a state media article described online games as “spiritual opium”. Tech shares recovered even as an opinion article in the ruling Communist Party’s official People’s Daily newspaper said that China should better protect minors from the dangers of the internet.

Providing some support for market sentiment, a private survey showed that growth in China’s services sector accelerated in July, helped by a recovery in consumption. But a surge in domestic COVID-19 cases remains a threat to the growth outlook. China reported the highest number of new locally transmitted cases since January on Wednesday.

South Korea Stocks End at 3-Week High on Strong Foreign Buying in Chip Sector

South Korean shares ended at a near three-week high on Wednesday, driven by strong foreign inflows into chip heavyweights, offsetting worries about rising cases of coronavirus’ Delta variant. Foreigners bought net 914.2 billion won ($799.58 million) worth of shares on the main KOSPI board, the largest daily amount since March 11.

South Korea posted a sharp increase in its coronavirus cases on Wednesday, nearing the record daily infections marked last week, as it struggled to tame its fourth wave of coronavirus.

Nikkei Dips on Delta Variant Anxiety, Toyota Slips after Earnings

Japanese shares dipped on Wednesday as concerns about the rapid spread of the Delta coronavirus variant kept investors on edge, while Toyota Motor succumbed to profit-taking after upbeat earnings.

Concerns about surging COVID-19 cases are mounting as the head of the Japan Medical Association called for a nationwide state of emergency.

Toyota Motor gave up 0.9% after the automaker reported a record quarterly operating profit but maintained its annual guidance.

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