Asian Shares Tumble Despite ECB Stimulus

Asian stocks fell on Thursday as a European Central Bank plan to spend more than $800 billion to buy bonds and the passage of a bipartisan funding and relief package in the U.S. as part of the nation’s response to the coronavirus pandemic failed to ease investor fears that the world is heading for a virus-fueled economic catastrophe.

The 750-billion-euro ($820-billion) program is temporary and will be halted when the coronavirus crisis is judged to be over “but in any case not before the end of the year”, the ECB said as countries around the world scrambled to prevent wider transmission of COVID-19, which has now infected more than 200,000 people and killed almost 9,000.

China’s Shanghai Composite index dropped nearly 1 percent to 2,702.13, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index tumbled 2.61 percent to 21,709.13.

Japanese shares hit a 3-1/2-year low as panic selling over the coronavirus pandemic overshadowed a massive shot of stimulus from the world’s major central banks. The Nikkei average gave up early gains to end the session down 1.04 percent at 16,552.83, its lowest close since November 2016.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group Corp plunged over 17 percent. Fujifilm Holdings Corp declined 8.5 percent after the company said it expects no direct earnings impact from potential sales growth of Favipiravir in China for now.

Australia’s benchmark S&P/ASX 200 lost 3.44 percent to finish at 4,782.90 even as the Reserve Bank made a historic foray into quantitative easing, saying it would do “whatever is necessary” to ensure funding costs are low and credit is freely available. Following an out-of-schedule meeting, the central bank slashed its cash rate to an all-time low of 0.25 percent.

New Zealand’s benchmark NZX-50 index tumbled 3.6 percent to 9,114.53 after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the country’s borders will be closed to everyone but citizens and residents from tonight.

Seoul stocks extended recent losses on worries that the economic stimulus measures announced by major economies around the globe is not enough to revitalize financial markets.

The benchmark Kospi crashed 133.56 points, or 8.39 percent, to 1,457.64 as the country reported 152 new cases of the new coronavirus today, up from 93 new cases a day earlier, bringing the nation’s total infections to 8,565. Tech heavyweights Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix fell around 6 percent while battery maker Samsung SDI plunged over 17 percent.

Philippine shares plunged by nearly 25 percent only moments after the Manila stock exchange resumed trade after a two-day halt. Markets later cut losses and were down 12 percent.

Overnight, U.S. stocks tumbled again as the number of coronavirus infections kept climbing, creating more uncertainty about how badly the economy is getting hit. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slumped 6.3 percent, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite shed 4.7 percent and the S&P 500 lost 5.2 percent.

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Asian Shares Mixed Amid Policy Easing Hopes

Asian shares ended mixed on Tuesday as expectations that central banks will provide financial stimulus helped offset fears of the coronavirus becoming a global pandemic.

Underlying sentiment remained supported somewhat after the European Central Bank joined its U.S. and Japanese peers in indicating that it stands ready to take “appropriate and targeted measures” to fight the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

Chinese shares advanced after the country reported its lowest number of new coronavirus cases in more than a month. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index rose 21.97 points, or 0.7 percent, to 2,992.90, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index finished marginally lower at 26,284.82.

Japanese shares gave up early gains to end sharply lower as investors awaited the outcome of the G7 financial chiefs meeting to discuss measures to deal with the coronavirus.

The Nikkei 225 Index tumbled 261.35 points, or 1.2 percent, to 21,082.73, while the broader Topix index closed 1.4 percent lower at 1,505.12. Securities house, farm and fishery and machinery-oriented companies paced the declines.

Japanese consumer confidence fell in February, data from the Cabinet Office showed today. On a seasonally adjusted basis, the consumer confidence index decreased to 38.4 in February from 39.1 in January and December. Economists had expected a score of 38.3.

Australian markets ended off their day’s highs as the country’s central bank lowered its key interest rate by a quarter point to a new record low, as widely expected, saying the global outbreak of the coronavirus will likely delay progress in Australia towards full employment and the inflation target.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index ended up 44.20 points, or 0.7 percent, at 6,435.70 after having fallen nearly 11 percent in the past seven sessions – its longest losing streak since September 2018. The broader All Ordinaries Index gained 50.50 points, or 0.8 percent, to finish at 6,511.60.

The big four banks fell between 1.1 percent and 1.7 percent. Miners BHP, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals Group surged 2-3 percent after copper and iron ore prices jumped on Monday.

Tech stocks soared, with software maker Xero climbing 7.2 percent and buy-now-pay-later firm Afterpay surging 6.2 percent. In the healthcare sector, CSL rallied 2.3 percent, while Cochlear and Resmed shot up about 5 percent.

In economic news, data on building permits for January and current account balance figures for the fourth quarter of 2019 came in below expectations.

Seoul stocks rose for the second straight day ahead of a crucial teleconference by the Group of Seven, a collective of rich countries, to discuss how to deal with the economic fallout from the coronavirus outbreak. The benchmark Kospi rose 11.64 points, or 0.6 percent, to 2,014.15.

South Korea’s GDP gained a seasonally adjusted 1.3 percent sequentially in the fourth quarter of 2019, the Bank of Korea said today – following the 0.4 percent gain in the previous three months. On a yearly basis, GDP gained 2.3 percent, up from 2.0 percent in the third quarter.

New Zealand shares rallied to bounce back from a six-day losing streak as expectations grew for monetary policy easing by major central banks. The NZX- 50 Index jumped 242.88 points, or 2.2 percent, to 11,346.31.

Telecommunications network operator Chorus surged over 5 percent and utility Meridian Energy advanced 4.6 percent.

U.S. stocks rose sharply overnight as investors grew optimistic that central banks around the world will take action to limit the impact of the coronavirus on their economies.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 5.1 percent to wrap up its strongest single-day gain since 2009. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite surged 4.5 percent and the S&P 500 climbed 4.6 percent, marking their biggest one-day gains since December 2018.

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Asian Shares Tumble On Virus Worries

Asian stocks fell on Monday and safe-haven assets such as gold and the dollar rose as investors fretted about a surge in the number of new coronavirus cases reported outside China and the potential impact on the global economy. The Japanese markets were closed for the Emperor’s Birthday.

South Korea raised its coronavirus alert to the highest level, while Italy and Iran confirmed an uptick in coronavirus infections.

China’s Shanghai Composite Index fell 8.44 points, or 0.3 percent, to 3,031.23 despite assurances from the government that it would step up efforts to help cushion the blow to its economy from the coronavirus outbreak. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index tumbled 487.93 points, or 1.8 percent, to 26,820.88.

Australian stocks tumbled, with weak global cues and disappointing corporate earnings dampening investor sentiment. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index plummeted 160.70 points, or 2.3 percent, to 6,978.30, while the broader All Ordinaries Index plunged 165 points, or 2.3 percent, to 7,065.40.

Qantas Airways slumped 7.5 percent amid the contagion fears. Woodside Petroleum, Santos, Origin Energy and Oil Search plunged 3-6 percent after oil prices fell more than 2 percent in Asian trading.

Miners BHP, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals Group declined 2-3 percent, while gold miner Evolution Mining rose 1.1 percent, Newcrest Mining climbed 5 percent and Northern Star Resources rallied 3.3 percent.

The big four banks fell between 0.9 percent and 1.5 percent. BlueScope Steel plummeted 7.9 percent after a warning that the coronavirus outbreak will heavily impact its China business.

NIB Holdings tumbled 7.1 percent as the health insurer reported a 23 percent decrease in first-half profit. Outdoor advertiser oOh!media lost 3.4 percent after reporting a 54 percent drop in statutory profit for the full year.

Seoul stocks nosedived, with the benchmark Kospi plummeting 83.80 points, or 3.9 percent, to close at 2,079.04 after South Korea raised its coronavirus alert to the “highest level” for the first time in a decade, following a rapid spike in cases over the weekend.

Airline stocks succumbed to heavy selling pressure, with Korean Air Lines and Asiana Airlines falling more than 6 percent after both suspended flights to the city of Daegu amid the contagion worries.

Market heavyweight Samsung Electronics tumbled 4 percent after confirming a coronavirus case at its mobile device factory complex in the southeastern city of Gumi.

New Zealand shares fell sharply as reports of surging coronavirus infections in South Korea, Italy and Iran dashed hopes the outbreak might be contained. The benchmark NZX 50 Index ended down 216.22 points, or 1.8 percent, at 11,857.12.

The total volume of retail sales in New Zealand gained a seasonally adjusted 0.7 percent sequentially in the fourth quarter of 2019, Statistics New Zealand said today.

That was shy of expectations for an increase of 0.8 percent and down from the upwardly revised 1.7 percent gain in the three months prior (originally 1.6 percent).

Singapore’s Straits Times Index slumped 1.2 percent. A government report showed that Singapore’s consumer price inflation rose 0.8 percent year-on-year in January, the same as seen in December. Economists had expected a 0.9 percent increase.

Malaysia’s KLSE Composite Index tumbled 2.7 percent amid political turmoil surrounding potential changes in the ruling government coalition.

U.S. stocks tumbled on Friday to extend losses from the previous session as the spread of the coronavirus inside and outside of China fueled worries about the impact on supply chains and global economic growth.

Disappointing manufacturing and service sector readings as well as tepid housing data also weighed on markets.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.8 percent, the S&P 500 declined 1.1 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite shed 1.8 percent.

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Asian Shares Mostly Lower After Apple Warning

Asian stocks ended broadly lower on Tuesday after Apple Inc warned it was unlikely to meet a sales target set just three weeks ago and reports suggested the Trump administration may force global chipmakers using American-made equipment to obtain licenses before supplying their chips to Huawei.

It was also said that Washington is considering blocking exports of jet engines made by General Electric Co., which could limit China’s efforts to develop its own passenger jets.

Chinese stocks reversed early losses to finish marginally higher. The benchmark Shanghai Composite index inched up 1.35 points to 2,984.97, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell 1.54 percent to 27,530.20.

Japanese shares lost ground after Apple warned about its quarterly revenue. The Nikkei average gave up 329.44 points, or 1.4 percent, to finish at a two-week low of 23,193.80, while the broader Topix index ended down 22.06 points, or 1.31 percent, at 1,665.71, its lowest close since late October.

Apple suppliers TDK Corp., Murata Manufacturing and Taiyo Yuden lost 3-6 percent. Semiconductor equipment supplier Tokyo Electron slumped 4.8 percent and semiconductor test equipment maker Advantest plummeted 5.8 percent.

Heavyweight SoftBank Group declined 4.9 percent after Indian startup Oyo Hotels and Homes, one of the SBG’s high-profile bets, said losses surged sevenfold last fiscal.

Australian markets edged lower, with technology stocks falling heavily after Apple Inc flagged a revenue miss amid weakening demand and production in China from the coronavirus outbreak, which has so far killed more than 1,800 people in the country.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index dropped 11.40 points, or 0.16 percent, to 7,113.70 while the broader All Ordinaries index ended down 12.90 points, or 0.18 percent, at 7,208.30. Trading activity was subdued due to a public holiday in the United States on Monday.

Shares of Altium slumped 7.9 percent after the design software company warned that its revenue for the full year will be at the lower end of its guidance range due to the impact of the coronavirus in China. Appen lost 4.2 percent.

Ansell shares tumbled almost 3 percent. The surgical gloves and protective clothing group said overall the coronavirus would have a mixed impact on it and “a minimal net impact” on annual results.

Supermarket giant Coles Group declined 1 percent after posting near-flat half-year earnings.

BHP Group edged up 0.8 percent as the miner reported a 39 percent jump in its half-year profit. Rival Rio Tinto gained half a percent and Fortescue Metals Group climbed 1.3 percent.

Seven West Media plunged more than 21 percent after the media firm reported a first-half statutory loss on lower revenues and said it will not pay an interim dividend.

The Aussie dollar has turned lower after the Reserve Bank of Australia revealed in the minutes from its rate decision last meeting that “a further reduction in interest rates could encourage additional borrowing at a time when there was already a strong upswing in the housing market amid rising house prices.”

Seoul stocks fell sharply after reports suggested that the Trump administration is considering new restrictions on exports of cutting-edge technology to China in a move targeting Huawei Technologies Co., China’s largest smartphone maker. The Kospi index tumbled 33.29 points, or 1.48 percent, to close at 2,208.88.

Market kingpin Samsung Electronics gave up 2.8 percent and No. 2 chipmaker SK Hynix lost 2.9 percent. Leading carmaker Hyundai Motor dropped 2.2 percent and auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis shed 1.5 percent.

New Zealand shares hit a record high after a report from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention said more than 80 percent of the novel coronavirus disease have been mild and new ones seem to be falling since early this month. The benchmark NZX 50 index rose 61.86 points, or 0.52 percent, to 11,935.84.

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Asian Shares Advance As Virus Worries Ebb

Asian stocks advanced on Wednesday as anxiety ebbed over the spread of a deadly virus in mainland China and Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell told Congress that the U.S. economy is in a good place, despite the potential threat from the coronavirus outbreak in China.

Chinese stocks rose for the seventh straight day as virus worries waned. The benchmark Shanghai Composite index climbed 25.22 points, or 0.9 percent, to 2,926.90 after officials reported the lowest daily increase in coronavirus infection cases in nearly two weeks, calming investor nerves over the epidemic’s economic impact. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index ended 0.9 percent higher at 27,823.66.

Japanese shares gained ground as a positive mood prevailed across global markets despite lingering concerns about the coronavirus outbreak. The Nikkei 225 Index climbed 175.23 points, or 0.7 percent, to 23,861.21, while the broader Topix finished marginally lower at 1,718.92.

Heavyweight SoftBank Group Corp soared 11.9 percent to become the country’s second-biggest company by market value after a U.S. federal judge approved a merger between its U.S. wireless unit Sprint Corp. and T-Mobile U.S. Inc.

Taiko Pharmaceutical Co. jumped 18.2 percent after the drug maker raised its operating profit forecast for the year ending in March. Tech stocks also posted strong gains, with Advantest surging 4.3 percent and Tokyo Electron adding 3.5 percent.

Meanwhile, Nissan Motor dropped 1.7 percent after temporarily halting production at its plant in Kyushu, southwestern Japan, due to a shortage of parts from China.

Australian markets advanced after positive offshore leads. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 32.90 points, or 0.5 percent, to 7,088.20, while the broader All Ordinaries Index ended up 33.90 points, or 0.5 percent, at 7,185.30.

Lender Commonwealth Bank of Australia surged 4.1 percent after its half-year cash profit topped forecasts.

CSL shares advanced 0.8 percent. After reporting an 11 percent increase in first-half net profit, the biotech company raised its full-year profit outlook and interim dividend.

Online vehicle sales company Carsales.com rallied 8.3 percent after its statutory net profit for the half-year surged more than five-fold.

On the other hand, health supplements firm Blackmores slumped 12.8 percent as the company scrapped its dividend and warned that this year’s profit will more than halve because of adverse costs and the coronavirus outbreak.

Australia’s consumer confidence advanced in February but sentiment remained weak overall, survey data from Westpac showed today.

South Korea’s Kospi rose 15.26 points, or 0.7 percent, to 2,238.38 after Fitch Ratings affirmed the country’s sovereign ratings with a ‘stable’ outlook.

The agency said the 2020 budget, enacted in December, implemented significant fiscal stimulus to confront sluggish growth prospects. Korea also has the fiscal space to utilize near-term fiscal stimulus, Fitch said.

New Zealand shares advanced as the country’s central bank left its official cash rate unchanged at a record low of 1.00 percent but suggested the coronavirus outbreak was “a downside risk” to the domestic economy. The benchmark NZX-50 Index gained 0.5 percent to close at 11,898.24.

U.S. stocks edged up slightly overnight after a top Chinese health adviser said the coronavirus outbreak may be peaking and infections may be over by April.

Recent strong earnings announcements and economic data as well as fairly upbeat comments by Fed Chair Jerome Powell also offered some support.

The Dow ended flat with a negative bias, while the S&P 500 inched up 0.2 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite rose 0.1 percent to reach fresh record closing highs.

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Asian Shares Rise On Stimulus Hopes

Asian stocks moved higher on Tuesday even as confirmed cases of the Wuhan coronavirus continued to rise. Investors seemed reassured by Chinese President Xi Jinping’s pledge to win the fight against the coronavirus outbreak. Markets in Japan were closed in observance of National Day.

China’s Shanghai Composite Index rose 11.19 points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,901.67 amid bets that Chinese policy makers will likely roll out more measures to minimize the fallout from the coronavirus outbreak. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index jumped 342.54 point, or 1.3 percent, to 27,583.88.

Australian markets rose notably after the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq closed at record highs overnight, boosted by Amazon.com, Microsoft and Alphabet.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index climbed 42.80 points, or 0.6 percent, to 7,055.30, led by financial and industrial companies. The broader All Ordinaries Index rose by 43.40 points, or 0.6 percent, to 7,151.40.

Information technology stocks advanced, with Xero and Afterpay ending up more than 2 percent. Gold miner Northern Star Resources edged up slightly to extend gains for the fourth straight session on strong half-yearly results.

The big four banks rose between half a percent and 0.7 percent. Woodside Petroleum, Santos and Oil Search gained between 0.7 percent and 1.2 percent as oil prices rose more than 1 percent in Asian trading in sympathy with a rally in equity markets. Beach Energy tumbled 2.5 percent on weak first-half results.

Mining heavyweights BHP and Rio Tinto eked out modest gains, while smaller rival Fortescue Metals Group climbed 2.4 percent.

Challenger soared nearly 14 percent. After reporting a 3 percent increase in profit before tax for the first half of the year, the investment management company said it expects full-year profit at the top end of its guidance range.

Transurban Group gained 1.4 percent. The toll road operator reported a 46 percent surge in its statutory net profit for the first half of the year and said it will pay a higher interim distribution compared to the year-ago period.

Meanwhile, Cochlear lost 3.4 percent after the hearing implants maker lowered its earnings guidance, citing the adverse impact of the coronavirus on sales.

Insurance giant Suncorp Group fell 1.3 percent after its net profit from continuing operations for the first half of the year declined 7 percent, reflecting a surge in bushfire and hailstorm claims.

Seoul stocks posted strong gains to snap a two-day losing streak as investors found comfort from strength in the world’s largest economy.

The benchmark Kospi jumped 22.05 points, or 1 percent, to close at 2,223.12. Top automaker Hyundai Motor surged 1.9 percent and its smaller affiliate Kia Motors advanced 1.7 percent.

New Zealand shares rallied, with the benchmark NZX-50 Index surging up 131.95 points, or 1.1 percent, to 11,834.54. Dual-listed banks rose, with Westpac closing up 1.5 percent and ANZ adding 0.7 percent.

Electricity generator Meridian Energy jumped 2.8 percent, Contact Energy rallied 3.5 percent and Spark New Zealand advanced 1.5 percent.

U.S. stocks recovered from an early drop to close higher overnight as signs of strength in the domestic economy helped investors shrug off coronavirus concerns.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.6 percent, while the S&P 500 gained 0.7 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite surged 1.1 percent to end the session at fresh record highs.

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