05:36 AM EST, 11/25/2020 (MT Newswires) -- Asian stock markets were uneven Wednesday, as tech issues declined but oil and bank stocks gained favor. Hong Kong edged ahead and Tokyo rose, but Shanghai fell back. Other regional exchanges were mixed, as traders weighed the COVID-19 pandemic and weak global economy against the prospects for a COVID-19 vaccine in 2021.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 closed 0.5% higher, after a strong opening on overnight Wall Street cues. Gains were pared in afternoon on media reports the Tokyo metropolitan government plans to ask restaurants and other nightspots to shorten business hours for the next three weeks, to help dampen the current COVID-19 outbreak in the capital city.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 rose 131.27 to 26,296.86, a fresh 29-year high, as gaining issues outnumbered losers 124 to 95.
In other news, a Ministry of Finance advisory panel on Wednesday warned that the government must pursue "wise spending" to back digital transformation and better productivity. The panel urged the government to step up efforts to achieve a primary budget surplus (a surplus, if debt payments are excluded) by the fiscal year ending in March 2026.
The Hong Kong Hang Seng finished up 0.3%, bringing gains for the month to 10.6%, as market denizens continue to look forward to a possible roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines in 2021, and a better outlook for the global economy. Strong oil and bank issues overcame soft tech stocks.
The broad gauge Hang Seng rose 81.55 to 26,669.75, as gaining issues outnumbered losers 39 to 18.
Leading the upside were bank HSBC (5:HK), up 6.5%, followed by state oil-giant CNOOC (883:HK), up 4.2%, and then China Petroleum & Chemical (386:HK), up 3.7%.
On the downside were Techtronic Industries (669:HK), off 4.9%, and then Geely Automobile (175:HK), off 4.4%.
The Hong Kong TECH 30 Index fell back 2.3%, as "stay-at-home" issues waned.
On the mainland the Shanghai Composite fell 1.2% to 3,362.33.
In other news, Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam on Wednesday, in her fourth annual policy address, said the city would abolish the doubled ad-valorem stamp duty on commercial properties. among other pro-economy measures.
On the other exchanges, the S. Korean Kospi fell 0.6%; the Taiwan TWSE declined 0.5%; the Australian ASX 200 inclined 0.6%; the Singapore Straits Times Index fell 0.8%, and the Thai Set inclined 1.0%. In late trading in Mumbai, the Sensex was off 1.6%.
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