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Asian Stock Markets Mixed as COVID-19 Case Rates, Restrictions Accelerate

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Last updated: 11/20/2020 06:03:06

06:03 AM EST, 11/20/2020 (MT Newswires) -- Asian stock markets closed mixed Friday, as traders again weighed rising COVID-19 infection rates worldwide against prospects for global economic recovery if vaccines against the virus are introduced, said analysts. Hong Kong and Shanghai rose, Tokyo fell, while other regional markets were similarly uneven.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 finished lower by 0.4%, with investors monitoring multiplying lockdowns and business restrictions across Europe and the US to curb the pandemic. In California, Governor Gavin Newsom on Thursday ordered a 10 pm curfew in some counties. In Japan, record-high daily infection rates were reported in the city of Osaka and in the northern island of Hokkaido on Friday. In Tokyo, daily new cases topped 500 for the second day in a row.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 fell 106.97 to 25,527.37, as losing issues outnumbered gainers 118 to 101. The gauge is up 7.9% year-to-date.

In economic news, the au Jibun Bank flash Composite Purchasing Manager's Index fell to 47.0 in November from 48.0 in October, with readings below 50 indicating economic contraction.

Japan's Consumer Price Index in October fell 0.4% year-over-year, according to the Statistics Bureau of Japan. The core CPI, which excludes food prices, fell by 0.7%, raising concerns Japan was again slipping into deflation.

The Hong Kong Hang Seng Index closed up 0.4%, as tech issues more than compensated for declines in the property sector. The Hang Seng Tech 30 Index rose 1.2% while the Hang Seng REIT Index fell by 0.3%.

The broad gauge rose 94.57 to 26,451.54, closing out its third straight week of gains, although losing issues outnumbered gainers 36 to 13. The index is off 6.2% year-to-date.

On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite rose 0.4% to 3,373.73, as auto issues gained on Beijing proposals to subsidize car-buyers.

In economic news, Beijing reportedly has borrowed money at negative interest rates for the first time. China issued $4.7 billion worth of sovereign bonds this week, which included five-year debt priced with a yield of minus 0.15%.

On the other exchanges, the S. Korean Kospi rose 0.2%; the Taiwan TWSE slipped 0.04%; the Australian ASX 200 shed 0.1%; the Singapore Straits Times Index rose 1.3%, and the Thai Set inclined 1.5%. In late trading in Mumbai, the Sensex was up 0.7%.

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