Asian shares mixed in cautious trade

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Asian Stocks
Asian Stocks Fall Worries Investors

Asian stocks ended Friday’s session on a mixed note after crude oil and bullion prices tumbled amid dollar strength.

A retreat in US Treasury yields helped limit regional losses, if any.

Chinese shares swung between gains and losses before ending on a flat note.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index climbed 242.68 points, or 0.85 per cent, to 28,801.27.

Japanese shares ended a choppy session lower as the Bank of Japan kept its ultra-lax monetary policy intact, as widely expected, and data showed overall consumer prices in the country slipped an annual 0.1 per cent in May.

The Bank of Japan maintained its massive monetary stimulus and extended the duration of the special funding program to help pandemic-hit firms.

The Nikkei average dropped 54.25 points, or 0.19 per cent, to 28,964.08, while the broader Topix index settled 0.87-per-cent lower at 1,946.56.

Financials led losses, with Dai-ichi Life Holdings losing as much as 5.7 per cent. Banks Mizuho Financial, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial ended down between 2 per cent and 2.6 per cent. Automaker Toyota Motor fell 3.9 per cent from a record high.

Eisai surged almost 6 per cent after it reached a strategic collaboration agreement with Bristol-Myers Squibb for the co-development and co-commercialization of MORAb-202, an antibody drug conjugate or ADC.

Australian markets ended slightly higher as technology stocks followed their US peers higher on optimism over the strength of the economic recovery. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index inched up 9.90 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 7,368.90 while the broader All Ordinaries index ended up 23.80 points, or 0.31 per cent, at 7,624.30.

Tech heavyweight Afterpay surged 6.5 per cent while software firm Altium rallied 3 per cent after announcing its business returned with double-digit growth in the second half. Xero and Wisetech Global rose about 3 per cent.

Lower copper prices weighed on the mining sector, with BHP ending down 2.5 per cent. Gold miners Northern Star Resources and Newcrest fell 2-3 per cent as bullion prices tumbled after the Fed’s hawkish surprise.

Banks also ended lower after an internet outage briefly disrupted access to several banking websites. ANZ gave up 0.9 per cent and Commonwealth lost 2 per cent. Beach Energy, Oil Search, Santos and Woodside Petroleum tumbled 2-4 per cent as oil extended losses for the second day running on demand worries.

Bubs Australia soared 29.3 per cent on news that its Aussie Bubs branded formulas will enter the lucrative US infant formula through the e-commerce platform of retail giant Walmart and Amazon.com.

Seoul stocks ended little changed with a positive bias amid hopes for a swift economic recovery. The Kospi average ended up 2.97 points at 3,267.93.

Battery maker Samsung SDI rallied 3.7 per cent and internet portal operator Naver advanced 2.2 per cent while chipmaker SK Hynix and chemical firm LG Chem both declined around 1.6 per cent.

New Zealand shares ended a choppy session little changed, with the benchmark NZX 50 index ending up 10.73 points at 12,551.93. Flag carrier Air New Zealand ended modestly lower after warning of losses in fiscal 2021 and fiscal 2022.

US stocks ended mixed overnight as investors weighed Fed guidance on interest rates and inflation.

Investors also reacted to disappointing readings on weekly jobless claims and Philadelphia-area manufacturing activity.

The S&P 500 slid marginally and the Dow gave up 0.6 per cent to extend losses for the fourth day and hit a one-month low, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite climbed 0.9 per cent to close near a record high.

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