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Asia report: Markets mixed, tech plays follow US peers lower

Tue 23 February 2021 11:00 | A A A

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(Sharecast News) - Markets in Japan finished in a mixed state on Tuesday, with technology stocks being closely watched after a fall in the sector on Wall Street overnight.

In Japan, markets were closed for the Emperor's Birthday holiday, as the yen weakened 0.15% against the dollar to JPY 105.24.

On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite was down 0.17% at 3,636.36, and the smaller, technology-centric Shenzhen Composite was off 0.85% at 2,396.01.

South Korea's Kospi was down 0.31% at 3,070.09, while the Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong advanced 1.03% to 30,632.64.

Banking giant HSBC managed gains of 0.43% in the special administrative region, after it reported a 34% fall in profit in 2020 to $8.8bn, which was still ahead of analyst expectations for $8.3bn.

The bank also declared a 15 cent-per-share interim dividend.

"There was some speculation in the leadup to the numbers that HSBC might well be leaning towards a greater focus on its Asia markets which contributes the bulk of its profits," said CMC Markets chief market analyst Michael Hewson.

"This speculation appears to be well founded and while it is caught in the crossfire of US-China relations it appears to have taken the decision to follow the money.

"The bank said it was looking to shift $100bn of capital to Asia, while also shifting a raft of key management positions out of the UK into Hong Kong, as it looks to focus on wealth management."

On the technology front in Hong Kong, Alibaba was down 1.2%, Kuaishou lost 5.24% and Xiaomi was 3.1% weaker.

In Seoul, LG Electronics slid 5.12% and Samsung Electronics was 0.24% weaker, while SK Hynix managed gains of 1.47%.

The moves in Asian tech plays came after a fall for the sector stateside overnight, where Amazon, Apple and Microsoft all lost more than 2%.

Oil prices were higher as the region went to bed, with Brent crude last up 0.86% at $65.80 per barrel, and West Texas Intermediate rising 0.65% to $62.10.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 was ahead 0.86% at 6,839.20, while across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand's S&P/NZ 50 slipped 0.3% to 12,388.84.

Both of the down under dollars were weaker against the greenback, with the Aussie last off 0.23% at AUD 1.2662, and the Kiwi retreating 0.1% to NZD 1.3659.

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