Asia Markets

Oct. 6, 2020, 11:45 p.m. EDT

Stocks take a breather in most of Asia Wednesday, but Hong Kong continues to rally

By MarketWatch, MarketWatch

Associated Press
People walk past a bank's electronic board showing the Hong Kong share index at Hong Kong Stock Exchange Tuesday,.

Stocks in Asia gave back some of their gains of the last two days in early Wednesday trading, though Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index bucked that trend by opening solidly higher.

But upsides for the Hong Kong stock market (HONG:HK:HSI)    are likely to be limited in the near term, as U.S. political uncertainties remain high, KGI Securities says. Tech stocks are lower, with Xiaomi (HKG:HK:1810)   losing 1.9%, AAC Technologies (HKG:HK:2018)   declining 1.0% and Tencent Holdings (HKG:HK:700)   off 0.1%. Insurance stocks are also down, with Ping An Insurance (HKG:HK:2318)   falling 1.1% and China Life Insurance (HKG:HK:2628)   0.8% lower. Among other stocks, Citic Ltd. (HKG:HK:6030)   is 1.4% lower and Geely Automobile (HKG:HK:175)   is off 1.3%.

Stocks in Japan (NIKKEI:JP:NIK)   were off slightly, mirroring most other markets in the region.

Steady gains in employment appear to be underway in Australia with the number of payroll jobs up 0.4% in Victoria over the two weeks to Sept. 19, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Over the same period, payroll jobs increased 0.3% nationally. Still, payroll jobs across the country remain around 4.1% lower than in mid-March. Victoria is steadily shaking off a second wave of Covid-19. Australian stocks (S&P:AU:XJO)  were ahead nearly 0.9% on the news.

South Korea’s Kopsi (KOREA:KR:180721)   fell after the country reported 114 new cases of the coronavirus, its first daily jump of over 100 in a week. Health officials had raised concerns that infections will rise because of increased travel during the five-day Chuseok harvest holiday that ended Sunday. The figures released by health officials Wednesday brought South Korea’s case total to 24,353 for the pandemic, including 425 deaths.

Losses were led by the airline and retail sectors. Ebbing hopes for fresh U.S. stimulus are dampening investor sentiment after President Trump halted bipartisan talks over a new coronavirus relief package. Airlines retreated, with Asiana Airlines (KRX:KR:020560)   down 2.6% and Jeju Air (KRX:KR:089590)   1.5% lower. Retailers are mostly down, with Lotte Himart (KRX:KR:071840)   falling 2.3%. Index heavyweight Samsung Electronics (KRX:KR:005930)   was down 0.5%.

The story was compiled from Dow Jones Newswires and Associated Press reports.

Link to MarketWatch's Slice.