Asian stocks ended mixed in thin holiday trade on Monday as the fate of the Biden Administration’s flagship spending bills remained unclear and the Evergrande debt crisis continued to cast doubt over China’s economic growth.
Chinese markets were closed for the National Day holiday and South Korea for National Foundation Day.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell as much as 539.27 points, or 2.19 percent, to 24,036.37 after trading in the shares of troubled property giant China Evergrande was suspended, sparking speculation about a possible asset divestment at the cash-strapped company.
Chinese developer Hopson also suspended trading of its shares, citing an impending announcement of a “major transaction”.
Japanese shares fell sharply as the nation’s new premier called for a sooner-than-expected election.
The Nikkei average fell 326.18 points, or 1.13 percent, to 28,444.89, extending losses for a sixth consecutive session. The broader Topix index closed 0.62 percent lower at 1,973.92.
Shippers Kawasaki Kisen and Nippon Yusen both lost about 8 percent while chip-making equipment maker Tokyo Electron tumbled 3.6 percent, technology start-up investor SoftBank gave up 2.5 percent and robot maker Fanuc lost 4.3 percent.
Department store operator J Front Retailing rallied 5.3 percent and Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings both jumped over 5 percent after Japan lifted its COVID-19 emergency measures.
Australian markets advanced, led by financials and energy stocks. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index climbed 93 points, or 1.29 percent, to 7,278.50 while the broader All Ordinaries index ended up 90.20 points, or 1.20 percent, at 7,576.80.
Commonwealth Bank of Australia shares soared as much as 5 percent after the lender announced a successful completion of its A$6 billion ($4.37 billion) off-market share buy-back of ordinary shares. The other three big banks rose about 2 percent each.
Woodside Petroleum and Santos gained around 2 percent each after oil prices settled near three-year highs last week on expectations OPEC ministers will maintain a steady pace in raising supply. Origin Energy jumped 3.4 percent.
Gold stocks also posted broad-based gains as gold prices held steady below a one-week high in Asian trade.
New Zealand shares eked out modest gains, with the benchmark NZX 50 index rising 58.12 points, or 0.44 percent, to 13,337.27. Skycity Entertainment Group rallied 2.2 percent after suspending operations at its Hamilton casino and entertainment facilities.
U.S. stocks rose sharply on Friday as the government avoided a shutdown, a trial of COVID-19 treatment showed promise and treasury yields extended a pullback after the release of mixed economic data.
The Dow climbed 1.4 percent, the S&P 500 rallied 1.2 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite index added 0.8 percent.
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