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Asian Stock Markets Unevenly Higher on Wall Street Cues, Pandemic Outlook

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Last updated: 01/13/2021 05:41:30

05:41 AM EST, 01/13/2021 (MT Newswires) -- Asian stock markets were unevenly higher Wednesday, as traders mulled positive overnight Wall Street cues but also the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as reports of virus outbreaks in mainland China. Hong Kong and Shanghai fell back, but Tokyo posted a strong gain, as did broad stock indices in Taiwan.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 finished up 1.0% on New York signals and an afternoon softening of the yen against the US dollar, the latter regarded as a positive in export-oriented Japan. The Nikkei 225 had to overcome a downdraft in real estate stocks, with the Tokyo Stock Exchange REIT Index declining by 1.1%

The property-issue weakness and the nation's ongoing COVID-19 spike were shrugged off by exchange traders, even as government officials reported plans for anti-virus emergency declarations for seven additional prefectures, on top of the existing declarations for the prefectures that comprise the greater Tokyo region.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 rose 292.25 to 28,456.59, as gaining issues outnumbered losers 143 to 72.

The Hong Kong Hang Seng Index opened with gains but slipped in afternoon action to close down 0.15%, as traders booked profits from recent rallies, and eyed the COVID-19 pandemic and recent outbreaks in mainland China. Tech issues declined, with the Hang Seng TECH Index retreating 0.7%, while oil stocks showed strength.

The broad gauge Hang Seng fell 41.15 to 28,235.60, as gaining and losing issues were matched at 25 each.

On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite fell 0.3% to 3,598.65.

On other regional exchanges, the S. Korean Kospi rose 0.7%; the Taiwan TWSE inclined 1.7%; the Australian ASX 200 inclined 0.1%; the Singapore Straits Times Index was flat, and the Thai Set inclined 0.5%. In late trading in Mumbai, the Sensex was off 0.2%.

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