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Asian Stock Markets Soft on Wall Street Cues, Pandemic Outlook

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Last updated: 01/14/2022 05:41:53

05:41 AM EST, 01/14/2022 (MT Newswires) -- Asian stock markets were soft on Friday, following overnight declines on Wall Street and rising COVID-19 tallies in Asia due to the rapidly spreading omicron variant. Hong Kong, Shanghai and Tokyo all finished lower as did most regional exchanges.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 opened lower and did not recover, finishing down 1.3%. The yen strengthened against the US dollar, undercutting export issues.

The Nikkei 225 fell 364.85 to 28,124.28 as losing issues outnumbered gainers 195 to 26. It is off 2.3% year-to-date.

In other news, Tokyo posted 4,051 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, reported The Mainichi newspaper. Less than 30 such cases a day were reported in December.

Meanwhile, producer prices in Japan rose 8.5% year-over-year in December 2021, but slipped 0.2% from November, the Bank of Japan said.

The Hong Kong Hang Seng Index opened lower and could not recover, finishing off 0.2% as traders again edged away from property and tech shares.

The broad gauge Hang Seng declined 46.45 to 24,383.32, as losing issues outnumbered gainers 36 to 25. The Hang Seng TECH Index and the Mainland Properties Index both declined by 0.5%.

The Hang Seng is up 4.2% year-to-date.

On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite fell 1% to 3,521.26.

In other news, mainland China exports in December rose by 20.9% year-over-year in US dollar-terms, while imports grew by 19.5%, reported the China Customs Administration.

On the other exchanges, the S. Korean KOSPI declined 1.4%; the Taiwan TWSE lost 0.2%; the Australian ASX 200 retreated 1.1%; the Thai Set was off 0.4%, while the Singapore Straits Times Index bucked trends and rose 0.8%. In late trading in Mumbai, the Sensex was flat.

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