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Dec. 23, 2020, 11:46 p.m. EST

Asian markets mostly higher, but stocks fall in China amid Alibaba antitrust probe

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By Associated Press

Asian shares were mostly higher on Thursday after stocks eked out small gains on Wall Street following a mixed set of reports on the economy.

Benchmarks rose in Tokyo, Hong Kong and Sydney.

Stocks fell in Shanghai after China’s market regulator said it has launched an anti-monopoly investigation of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group /zigman2/quotes/215112034/delayed HK:9988 +1.07% /zigman2/quotes/201948298/composite BABA +1.35% , stepping up official efforts to tighten control over the country’s fast-growing tech industries.

China also is ramping up its scrutiny of the practice of community group buying, summoning some of the nation’s largest tech companies for discussions as part of the anti-monopoly push.

China’s State Administration for Market Regulation also recently summoned six companies, including Alibaba and other e-commerce platforms such as JD.com /zigman2/quotes/205122565/composite JD +2.58% and Pinduoduo /zigman2/quotes/208876581/composite PDD +4.91% , gaming company Tencent /zigman2/quotes/204605823/delayed HK:700 +1.17% , food delivery firm Meituan /zigman2/quotes/205161725/delayed HK:3690 +2.28% and ridesharing firm Didi Chuxing to talk about the potential ramifications of community group buying.

The Shanghai Composite index /zigman2/quotes/210598127/delayed CN:SHCOMP +0.32% lost 0.2%. Shares also fell on the smaller market in southern China’s Shenzhen /zigman2/quotes/210598015/delayed CN:399106 +0.17% .

But elsewhere, Christmas Eve trading was upbeat. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK +2.09% gained 0.4% on Thursday and the Hang Seng /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI +1.42% in Hong Kong edged 0.2% higher. In South Korea, the Kospi /zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed KR:180721 +1.23% jumped 1.3% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 /zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed AU:XJO +0.60% rose 0.4%. Stocks advanced in Taiwan /zigman2/quotes/210597977/delayed TW:Y9999 +5.16% and Singapore /zigman2/quotes/210597985/delayed SG:STI +2.04% .

“Although some reshuffling of portfolios in emerging Asia was to be expected ahead of the holiday break, the underlying theme is a positive one,” Jeffrey Halley of Oanda said in a commentary.

On Wednesday, the S&P 500 /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX -0.11% inched up 0.1% to 3,690.01. The benchmark index set a record high on Thursday and is up 14.2% so far this year.

Gains by financial, communication services, energy and other sectors were kept in check by declines elsewhere, including technology companies, which helped pulled the Nasdaq /zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime COMP +0.48% slightly lower.

An hour before trading began on Wall Street, the government released an avalanche of data on the economy that showed some optimistic signs and several disappointing ones.

The Labor Department said fewer U.S. workers filed for unemployment benefits last week. The number is still incredibly high compared with before the pandemic, but it was better than economists were expecting.

Another report said that orders for long-lasting goods strengthened by more than expected last month, a good sign for the nation’s manufacturers.

But other reports were grimmer. Consumers pulled back on their spending by more last month than economists expected. It was the first drop since April and was mainly because incomes dropped sharply in November, by more than economists had forecast.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA -0.27% added 0.4% to 30,129.83.

Stock futures initially dropped after President Donald Trump said that he may not sign the $900 billion rescue for the economy that Congress approved Monday night.

The hope in markets had been that the package might tide the economy over until widespread vaccinations can help the world begin to return to normal. The legislation includes one-time cash payments of $600 to most Americans, extra benefits for laid-off workers and other financial support.

Trump said late Tuesday that he wants to see bigger cash payments going to most Americans, up to $2,000 for individuals. He also criticized other parts of the bill.

But shares eventually drifted upward as investors looked past the unexpected pushback.

“Despite the churning of the Washington DC pond by vetos, new votes, and overrides, Wall Street clearly believes something positive will float to the top of the barrel when the churning stops,” Halley said.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 0.95% from 0.90% late Tuesday.

In other trading, U.S. benchmark crude gained 12 cents to $48.24 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gained $1.10 to $48.12 on Wednesday. Brent crude , the international standard, added 14 cents to $51.38 per barrel.

The dollar /zigman2/quotes/210561789/realtime/sampled USDJPY -0.2508% slipped to 103.52 Japanese yen from 103.54 yen late Wednesday.

/zigman2/quotes/215112034/delayed
HK : Hong Kong
HK$ 207.60
+2.20 +1.07%
Volume: 18.53M
May 18, 2021 4:08p
P/E Ratio
26.77
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
HK$4454.03 billion
Rev. per Employee
N/A
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/zigman2/quotes/201948298/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 213.89
+2.84 +1.35%
Volume: 11.51M
May 18, 2021 12:20p
P/E Ratio
26.68
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$573.48 billion
Rev. per Employee
N/A
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/205122565/composite
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
$ 69.97
+1.76 +2.58%
Volume: 6.15M
May 18, 2021 12:20p
P/E Ratio
15.36
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$104.88 billion
Rev. per Employee
$343,125
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/208876581/composite
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
$ 123.82
+5.80 +4.91%
Volume: 2.98M
May 18, 2021 12:20p
P/E Ratio
N/A
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$147.91 billion
Rev. per Employee
$1.08M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/204605823/delayed
HK : Hong Kong
HK$ 607.50
+7.00 +1.17%
Volume: 12.19M
May 18, 2021 4:08p
P/E Ratio
32.51
Dividend Yield
0.26%
Market Cap
HK$5712.90 billion
Rev. per Employee
HK$10.55M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/205161725/delayed
HK : Hong Kong
HK$ 260.00
+5.80 +2.28%
Volume: 17.87M
May 18, 2021 4:08p
P/E Ratio
298.37
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
HK$1544.44 billion
Rev. per Employee
N/A
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210598127/delayed
CN : China: Shanghai
3,529.01
+11.40 +0.32%
Volume: 27.13B
May 18, 2021 3:01p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210598015/delayed
CN : Shenhzen Stock Exchange
2,324.27
+3.94 +0.17%
Volume: 31.80B
May 18, 2021 3:00p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed
JP : Nikkei
28,406.84
+582.01 +2.09%
Volume: 0.00
May 18, 2021 3:15p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed
HK : Hong Kong Exchange
28,593.81
+399.72 +1.42%
Volume: 2.07M
May 18, 2021 4:09p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed
KR : Korea Exchange
3,173.05
+38.53 +1.23%
Volume: 786,143
May 18, 2021 3:30p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed
AU : S&P ASX
7,066.00
+42.40 +0.60%
Volume: 524,937
May 18, 2021 5:29p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210597977/delayed
TW : Taiwan Stock Exchange
16,145.98
+792.09 +5.16%
Volume: 0.00
May 18, 2021 1:33p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210597985/delayed
SG : Singapore: SGX
3,142.63
+62.94 +2.04%
Volume: 0.00
May 18, 2021 5:20p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime
US : S&P US
4,158.82
-4.47 -0.11%
Volume: 1.07B
May 18, 2021 12:20p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime
US : Nasdaq
13,443.14
+64.09 +0.48%
Volume: 1.99M
May 18, 2021 12:20p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime
US : Dow Jones Global
34,233.73
-94.06 -0.27%
Volume: 135.30M
May 18, 2021 12:20p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210561789/realtime/sampled
US : Tullett Prebon
108.9590
-0.2740 -0.2508%
Volume: 0.0000
May 18, 2021 12:20p
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