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Asia-Pacific markets mostly down despite Wall Street gains

share market

Nikkei 225 dropped 0.96% to end at 28,489.13, the Kospi dropped 0.35%, and ASX 200 gained 0.48% to end at 7,474.40

Asia-Pacific markets mostly dropped on Thursday as Wall Street saw gains despite a red-hot inflation report that set market expectations for rate hikes. Meanwhile, Covid worries also came into focus as the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that omicron cases are ‘off the charts.’

Japan led losses in the region, as the Nikkei 225 dropped 0.96% to end at 28,489.13, after climbing nearly 2% on Wednesday, while the Topix shed 0.68% to 2,005.58.

Major retailers lost ground, as Seven & I dropped 3.28%, and Fast Retailing shed nearly 2%.

Over in South Korea, the Kospi dropped 0.35%.

Chinese markets deepened losses in the afternoon. The Shanghai composite tumbled nearly 1%, while the Shenzhen component dropped 1.70%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index shed 0.43% after rising earlier.

Shares of Chinese property developer Sunac tumbled 19% after it said in a filing that it plans to sell 452 million new shares to controlling shareholder Sunac International Investment Holdings at 10 Hong Kong dollars per share.

That will raise 4.52 billion Hong Kong dollars ($580 million), with the firm saying that 50% of the proceeds from the sale will go towards repaying loans, while the other half will be for other corporate purposes.

Genting Hong Kong shares also dropped nearly 50% after the company announced that it may not be able to pay its debts and other obligations.

Elsewhere, Australia’s ASX 200 gained 0.48% to end at 7,474.40. Financials and major miners saw gains. Rio Tinto climbed 4.13%, while BHP rose 3.83%.

In earnings, Taiwan’s TSMC reported its fourth-quarter results, posting a record 16.4% rise in quarterly profit, according to Reuters. Net profit for the quarter rose to 166.2 billion Taiwan dollars ($6 billion) from 142.8 billion Taiwan dollars a year earlier.

Investors will also keep an eye on Covid developments, as the WHO reported a record 15 million new Covid-19 cases globally for a single week, as omicron rapidly replaces delta as the dominant variant across the globe.

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