Japan shares fall as investors eye upcoming general elections
07:59, 21 October 2021
Japan’s Nikkei 225 index snapped two days of gains to fall nearly 2% on Thursday ahead of the country’s general elections due at the end of the month.
Benchmark Nikkei 225 index fell 1.9% to close at 28,708.58 points. The index had gained 0.1% on Wednesday.
Local news agency Kyodo News said the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) will likely retain its majority in the 31 October Lower House election, according to a poll it conducted.
Tech stocks snap rally in Asia
An LDP majority in parliament will allow Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to pursue his promise of a stimulus package of “tens of millions of yen” by the end of the year.
Technology stocks snapped their rallies from earlier this week to lead losses on Thursday. Topix-17 Electric Appliances & PRE Instrument index was the worst performing sectoral sub-index, down nearly 2%, with semiconductor production equipment maker Tokyo Electron ending 4.6% lower.
Similarly, tech stocks coupled with healthcare firms to lead losses in Hong Kong, pushing down the benchmark Hang Seng index by 0.7% on Thursday.
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Evergrande resumes trade
Hang Seng TECH index fell over 1% while Hang Seng Healthcare index lost over 2% on Thursday. Food delivery firm Meituan and pharma major CSPC Pharmaceutical Group declined over 3% each.
Shares in Evergrande resumed trade on Thursday to fall over 12% by Thursday afternoon following an over two-week trading halt. The company announced the collapse of a $2.58bn stake sale in its unit to Hopson Development.
However, the Hang Seng Properties index rose 1.8% on Thursday as Vice Premier Liu He reassured markets that risks in the Chinese property sector are under control, as reported by state-affiliated Xinhua News.
Aussie earnings season in full swing
Meanwhile, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index ended close to flat on Thursday as tech and financial gains countered mining and energy losses.
Woodside Petroleum closed 2.3% lower after missing quarterly revenue estimates and slashing gas reserve estimates at its Wheatstone project. Its rival Santos fell 1.1% despite posting record quarterly revenue.
Casino slot-machine maker Aristocrat Leisure hit an all-time high of AUD49.39 mid-session on Thursday after coming off a trading halt. The company acquired London-listed gambling software firm Playtech for £2.7bn earlier this week. While, wealth manager Perpetual emerged as the top performer on the benchmark index, up over 7%, after reporting strong earnings.
Singapore extends Covid-19 restrictions
Elsewhere, South Korea’s KOSPI extended Wednesday’s losses to inch 0.2% lower as heavyweights Samsung Electronics and SK hynix lost 0.1% and 1.6%, respectively, on Thursday.
Singapore’s Straits Times index slipped 0.1% after the city-state extended Covid-19 restrictions for four more weeks amid record high daily new infections.
Bourses in Malaysia and Jakarta fell 0.8% and 0.2%, respectively, on Thursday.
Read more: South Korea mulls fuel tax cut amid elevated crude prices
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