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Asian Stocks Mostly Lower as Europe Ramps Up Restrictions to Combat COVID-19 Surge; Hong Kong Advances

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Last updated: 10/16/2020 07:14:57

07:14 AM EDT, 10/16/2020 (MT Newswires) -- Asian stock markets on Friday were largely subdued and lower, with investors taking to the sidelines before the weekend while major European countries including France, Spain and the UK re-imposed restrictions to curb a jump in COVID-19 outbreaks.

Shanghai was nearly flat and Tokyo fell, as did most regional exchanges. Hong Kong stocks, however, rose on recovering bank and tech issues, which had been hurt on Thursday by China-US tensions.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 fell 96.60, or 0.4%, to 23,410.63, with pressure also coming from a stronger yen, regarded as a negative in the export-oriented country. Losing issues outnumbered gainers 190 to 33.

The Nikkei 225 is off 1% year-to-date.

In economic news, an index of business services in Japan rose 0.8% in August, the third straight month of gains. But the Index of Tertiary Industry Activity was still down 8.5% year-over-year, officials reported on Thursday.

The Hong Kong Hang Seng Index closed up by 228.25, or 0.9%, to 24,386.79. The number of gaining issues matched the numbers of losers at 23 each on the day.

The Hang Seng is off 13.4% year-to-date.

On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite rose 0.1% to 3,336.36.

In economic news, China's gross domestic product likely expanded by about 5.2% in Q3 from a year earlier, reported Reuters, citing its own poll of economists.

On the other exchanges, the South Korean Kospi fell 0.8%; the Taiwan TWSE declined 0.6%; the Australian ASX 200 lost 0.5%; the Singapore Straits Times Index rose 0.4%, and the Thai Set pulled back by 0.8%. In late trading in Mumbai, the Sensex was up 0.6%.

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