Asia Markets

Stocks in Asia mixed as Hong Kong shares end lower after protests

Key Points
  • Asia Pacific shares were mixed on Thursday.
  • Hong Kong's Hang Seng index closed fractionally lower at 27,294.71, a day after violent clashes between protesters and riot police over a controversial extradition bill.
  • Oil prices bounced back after the previous day's losses, on reports of tanker explosions in the Gulf of Oman.

Shares in Asia Pacific were mixed on Thursday following an overnight decline on Wall Street.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index closed fractionally lower at 27,294.71 amid uncertainty, one day after violent clashes between protesters and riot police over a controversial extradition bill.

"You already have significant political risk premium embedded into Hong Kong equities because of the trade effects that are going on and Hong Kong is the gateway to China. So the outlook for China has taken a knock in the past month or so," Binay Chandgothia, managing director and portfolio manager at Principal Global Investors, told CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Thursday.

"Add to that the possibility that something wrong could happen in terms of the ongoing protests. Then you could see Hong Kong equities get cheaper," Chandgothia said, adding that valuation levels in the Hong Kong markets are "fairly attractive" at present.

Mainland Chinese stocks were higher on the day, with the Shanghai composite up slightly to 2,910.74 and the Shenzhen component rising fractionally to 8,951.61. The Shenzhen composite also advanced 0.287% to 1,532.79.

Elsewhere, Japan's Nikkei 225 slipped 0.46% to close at 21,032.00, as shares of Apple supplier Japan Display plummeted 11.94% after the company announced new restructuring plans, with the company's president and CEO set to step down. The Topix index also declined 0.82% to finish its trading day at 1,541.50.

Over in South Korea, the Kospi shed 0.27% to close at 2,103.15 as shares of chipmaker SK Hynix dropped 3.35%. The ended its its trading day in Australia largely flat at 6,542.40.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan slipped 0.36%, as of 4:11 p.m. HK/SIN.

Overnight on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 43.68 points to close at 26,004.83 while the S&P 500 ended its trading day 0.2% lower at 2,879.84. The Nasdaq Composite lagged, sliding 0.4% to close at 7,792.72.

Wednesday's declines stateside came following muted trading action in the previous session. The Dow closed marginally lower on Tuesday, ending a six-day winning streak.

Oil prices plunged on Wednesday following data that showed an unexpected increase in U.S. crude inventories for the second week in a row, against the backdrop of fears that fuel demand could weaken amid the U.S.-China trade fight.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures plunged $2.13 to $51.15 per barrel, tumbling 4% on the day to a new five-month low. Brent crude, the international benchmark for oil prices, fell $2.32 or 3.7%, at $59.97 a barrel, its first settle below $60 since January.

During Asian trading hours on Thursday afternoon, oil prices bounced from the previous day's losses on reports of tanker explosions in the Gulf of Oman. U.S. crude futures jumped 2.44% to $52.39 per barrel, while Brent surged 2.62% to $61.54 per barrel.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 96.934 after rising from levels around 96.6 yesterday.

The changed hands at 108.31 against the dollar after touching levels above 108.5 earlier. while the traded at $0.6913 after slipping from the $0.696 handle yesterday.

— CNBC's Fred Imbert and Tom DiChristopher contributed to this report.