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Asia report: Most markets higher, Japan retail sales better than expected

Tue 30 March 2021 11:06 | A A A

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(Sharecast News) - Markets in Asia were firmer for the most part on Tuesday, as investors digested the latest retail data from Japan, as shares in investment bank Nomura continued to come under pressure.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 was up 0.16% at 29,432.70, as the yen weakened 0.39% against the dollar to last trade at JPY 110.24.

Of the major components on the benchmark index, robotics specialist Fanuc was up 0.13%, Uniqlo owner Fast Retailing added 3.17%, and technology giant SoftBank Group was 1.01% firmer.

Nomura was down 0.66% by the end of the day, extending losses of 16% on Monday, which came after it warned of a loss of up to $2bn in its US operations.

The broader Topix index lost 0.78% by the end of trading in Tokyo, settling at 1,977.86.

Fresh data from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry showed a 1.5% fall in retail sales year-on-year in Japan in February, which was better than the 2.8% fall pencilled in by economists in a Reuters poll.

On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite was ahead 0.62% at 3,456.68, and the smaller, technology-centric Shenzhen Composite rose 0.47% to 2,229.27.

South Korea's Kospi was up 1.12% at 3,070.00, while the Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong gained 0.84% to 28,577.50.

The blue-chip technology stocks were on the front foot in Seoul, with Samsung Electronics up 1.17% and SK Hynix 1.89% firmer.

Oil prices were lower as the region went to bed, with Brent crude last down 0.4% at $64.72 per barrel, and West Texas Intermediate falling 0.62% to $61.18.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 slipped 0.9% to close at 6,738.40, while across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand's S&P/NZX 50 managed gains of 0.64% to 12,446.76.

The down under dollars were both stronger on the greenback, with the Aussie last ahead 0.05% at AUD 1.3098, and the Kiwi advancing 0.08% to NZD 1.4279.

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