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Asia report: Markets mixed as traders watch US developments

(Sharecast News) – Markets in Asia closed in a mixed state on Tuesday, with equities in China leading the gainers, as investors watched developments stateside where House Democrats introduced an article of impeachment against outgoing US president Donald Trump.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 was up 0.09% at 28,164.34, as the yen strengthened 0.07% against the dollar to last trade at JPY 104.19.

Technology giant SoftBank Group rose 1.36%, while among the benchmark’s other major components, robotics specialist Fanuc was down 1.14% and Uniqlo owner Fast Retailing was off 0.68%.

The broader Topix index was ahead 0.16% by the end of trading in Tokyo, closing at 1,857.94.

On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite surged 2.18% to 3,608.34, and the smaller, technology-centric Shenzhen Composite was 1.86% firmer at 2,419.96.

The gains on Tuesday marked the first time the Shanghai bourse closed above 3,600 points for the first time in more than five years.

South Korea’s Kospi was 0.71% lower at 3,125.95, while the Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong added 1.32% to 28,276.75.

The blue-chip technology stocks were in the red in Seoul, with Samsung Electronics down 0.44% and SK Hynix losing 3.01%.

Traders in Asia started their session keeping an eye on developments in the United States, where stocks fell across the board overnight.

That came after House Democrats introduced an article of impeachment against Donald Trump, charging him with inciting the deadly riot on Capitol Hill last week.

Since the riot, a number of officials had resigned from Trump’s Cabinet, ahead of the inauguration of president-elect Joe Biden, who is due to be sworn in on 20 January.

“US markets posted their first negative session this year last night, closing lower with the tech heavy Nasdaq acting as the main drag,” said CMC Markets chief market analyst Michael Hewson.

“This doesn’t appear to have translated into Asia which has seen markets by and large trade in a mixed fashion.

“The caution being exhibited this week seems entirely sensible, particularly so given the strong start to the year, and when set against the sharp rise in yields seen in the past few days, which has made long term US treasuries slightly more attractive.”

Oil prices were higher as the region went to bed, with Brent crude last up 1.82% at $56.67 per barrel, and West Texas Intermediate ahead 1.84% at $53.21.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 was down 0.27% by end-of-play in Sydney, settling at 6,679.10, while across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand’s S&P/NZX 50 was down 0.8% at 13,183.69.

Both of the down under dollars were stronger on the greenback, with the Aussie last ahead 0.46% at AUD 1.2934, and the Kiwi advancing 0.46% to NZD 1.3902.

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