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Asian Shares Mixed Amid China Covid Concerns

Verified Media
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Asian stocks ended Monday's session on a mixed note, as parts of Beijing have again come under a lockdown amid signs the pandemic outbreak is spreading in more and more Chinese cities.

The authorities have imposed a lockdown in the Haidian district along with Chaoyang, Fengtai, Shunyi, and Fangshan districts, China's Global Times reported citing a statement of the city government's spokesperson, Xu in Hejian.

Regional gains, if any, were limited amid lingering concerns that inflation and rising interest rates would hamper the global economic outlook.

Market participants await the latest FOMC minutes and U.S. personal consumption expenditure price, a key gauge of inflation used by the Fed, this week for more clues on the pace of future rate hikes.

China's Shanghai Composite index recovered from an early slide to end little changed while Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 1.19 percent to 20,470.06. Tech stocks succumbed to selling pressure, with Bilibili and Alibaba ending down 4.1 percent and 3.4 percent, respectively.

Beijing extended work-from-home guidance for many of its 22 million residents after reporting 99 new infections for the previous day, the largest daily tally so far during a month-old outbreak.

Elsewhere, Shanghai deployed more testing and curbs to hold on to its hard-won 'zero COVID' status after two months of lockdowns.

Japan's Nikkei index jumped 0.98 percent to close above the psychological 27,000 level, tracking gains in U.S. stock futures. The broader Topix index ended up 0.92 percent at 1,894.57.

Financials led the surge, with insurer Tokio Marine Holdings surging 7.6 percent after its fiscal year net profit more than doubled.

Seoul stocks extended gains for the second day running, with the Kospi average rising 0.31 percent to 2,647.38.

Vaccine maker SK Bioscience soared 4.7 percent after announcing it has delivered the first shipment of its chickenpox vaccine injection solution, Sky Varicella, as part of a $31.27 million order from an international public health agency.

Australian markets gave up early gains to end on a flat note as investors closely watched daily COVID-19 numbers in China.

Higher iron ore futures helped lift miners while banks declined on expectations that Labor Party's election win on the weekend will put more pressure on the Reserve Bank of Australia to continue to normalize policy and move towards neutral sooner rather than later.

New Zealand shares eked out modest gains ahead of the Reserve Bank's decision on interest rates, due on Wednesday.

The benchmark NZX-50 index rose 0.44 percent to 11,316.46. AFT Pharmaceuticals jumped 13.7 percent after more than doubling its full-year profit.

U.S. stocks seesawed before finishing mixed on Friday amidst fears of a looming recession. The Dow ended marginally higher after having plunged more than 600 points at its worst levels.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite slipped 0.3 percent, while the S&P 500 briefly fell into bear market territory before ending largely unchanged.

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