Asian Shares Mixed As Chinese Markets Plunge

Asian stocks turned in a mixed performance on Thursday amid inflation worries and growing optimism for another strong earnings season. Yields headed back towards multi-year highs as the debate continued on whether inflation is peaking.

Chinese stocks tumbled on fears of a sharp economic slowdown after recent policy measures fell short of expectations. China’s zero Covid approach has also come under scrutiny as several companies were forced to remain shut down.

China’s Shanghai Composite Index plunged 2.3 percent to 3,079.81, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index dropped 1.3 percent to settle at 20,682.22.

Japanese stocks rallied as the yen held near 20-year lows amid expectations the Bank of Japan will lag its peers, including the U.S. Federal Reserve, in normalizing monetary policy. The Nikkei 225 Index jumped 1.2 percent to close at 27,553.06.

Yamaha Corp., Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma and Fujikura climbed 4-7 percent, while Tokyo Electric Power led losses to close 4.3 percent lower.

Australian stocks rose for a fifth day, as upbeat earnings helped outweigh declines in the technology sector. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index edged up 0.3 percent to 7,592.80.

Banks and Energy stocks ended broadly higher. Investment manager Challenger surged 9.8 percent after saying its annual profit would be towards the upper end of the forecast range.

Viva Energy jumped 4.6 percent after the fuel supplier said its group volumes for first quarter rose 9 percent. Supply chain solutions firm Brambles soared 8 percent after lifting its profit guidance. Mining giant BHP tumbled 3.1 percent after cutting its annual copper production view.

Seoul stocks eked out modest gains, with the Kospi rising 0.4 percent to 2,728.21. Internet conglomerate Naver declined 1.9 percent after its first quarter net profit plummeted 99 percent year-on-year. Data showed earlier in the day that South Korea’s producer prices rose for the third straight month in March.

New Zealand shares ended slightly lower after the country’s annual inflation posted its biggest increase in more than 30 years at 6.9 percent. The benchmark NZX 50 Index slipped 0.1 percent to 11,954.

U.S. stocks ended mixed overnight, with tech shares pulling back sharply after Netflix reported a loss of subscribers in the first quarter.

The Dow rose 0.7 percent as IBM and Procter & Gamble both reported strong earnings and the Fed’s Beige Book showed U.S. economic activity has expanded at a moderate pace since mid-February.

The S&P 500 edged marginally lower, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite index slumped 1.2 percent amid Netflix’s rout.

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