Asian Shares Mixed On Hard Brexit Fears


Asian stocks turned in a mixed performance on Wednesday as concerns about the prospect of a so-called hard Brexit persisted and data showed Japan's exports slipped for a 12th straight month in November, raising the risk of a contraction in the fourth quarter.


Chinese shares gave up early gains to end lower. The benchmark Shanghai Composite index slid 0.18 percent to 3,017.04 while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index finished 0.15 percent higher at 27,884.21.


China's central bank today reduced its 14-day reverse repurchase rate marginally after cutting the short-term 7-day repo rate a month ago.


The People's Bank of China also injected CNY 200 billion into the financial system via reverse repurchase agreements to meet liquidity demand.


Japanese shares ended lower on growth worries after official data showed the country's exports decreased for the 12th consecutive month in November.


Exports fell 7.9 percent on a yearly basis in November - slower than the 8.8 percent fall economists had expected. Exports to the United States decreased 12.9 percent while that to China were down 5.4 percent.


The Nikkei average dropped 0.55 percent to 23,934.43 while the broader Topix index closed half a percent lower at 1,738.40.


Shipping firm Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha lost 3.4 percent and drug maker Daiichi Sankyo slumped 5.6 percent, while Olympus, Nomura, Nippon Electric Glass and Hitachi rose 2-3 percent.


After the closing bell, Hitachi said it would sell its listed chemicals unit to electronic materials maker Showa Denko for 494 billion yen ($4.55 billion).


Isuzu Motors advanced 1.5 percent on reports that the automaker will cooperate with Sweden's Volvo AB on next-generation trucks.


Australian markets ended flat with a positive bias as banks fell on allegations of widespread misconduct. Banks ANZ, NAB and Westpac ended down between 0.2 percent and 0.7 percent.


QBE Insurance Group dropped 1.1 percent after the insurer flagged higher claims payout for its North American crop business, citing adverse weather conditions.


Origin Energy, Oil Search and Santos climbed 1-3 percent as oil prices hovered near three-month highs on hopes that the U.S.-China trade deal would bolster demand in 2020.

Healthcare stocks also gained ground, with CSL and Cochlear rising 0.8 percent and 1.9 percent, respectively. Mining heavyweights BHP and Rio Tinto shed 0.4 percent and 1 percent, respectively after a fall in iron ore prices.


Seven West Media shares tumbled 2.9 percent after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission announced it would not oppose Prime Media's acquisition by Seven.

Seoul stocks succumbed to profit taking after reaching a seven-month high in the previous session. The benchmark Kospi finished marginally lower at 2,194.76 after a choppy session. Buying was seen in the automobile sector, with Hyundai Motor rising 0.8 percent and its affiliate Kia Motors adding 1.3 percent.


New Zealand shares rose notably, with the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index ending up 68.72 points, or 0.61 percent, at 11,329.56. Kathmandu Holdings and Oceania Healthcare both rose around 3 percent.


New Zealand posted a current account deficit of NZ$6.35 billion in the third quarter of 2019, Statistics New Zealand said today. That missed expectations for a deficit of NZ$6.318 billion following the NZ$1.106 billion shortfall in the three months prior.


U.S. stocks extended their winning streak to reach fresh record closing highs overnight as investors cheered encouraging data on home construction, industrial production and job openings.


The S&P 500 inched up marginally to log its fifth gain in a row while the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq Composite index rose around 0.1 percent.




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