Asia Markets

Asia-Pacific stocks higher following overnight bounce on Wall Street; SMIC shares in Hong Kong sink

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Key Points
  • Japan's exports declined 4.2% in November as compared with a year ago, according to Ministry of Finance data released Wednesday. That was far off the 0.5% rise expected by economists in a Reuters poll.
  • Hong Kong-listed shares of China's largest chipmaker SMIC plunged 4.94% on Wednesday. The company's Shanghai-listed shares fell about 5.5%.
  • Shares of Apple suppliers in Asia-Pacific rose in Wednesday trade, following a Nikkei report that the Cupertino-based tech giant will increase iPhone production by about 30% in the first half of 2021.

SINGAPORE — Stocks in Asia-Pacific were higher on Wednesday following an overnight bounce on Wall Street as optimism grew over the prospect of more stimulus.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225's advanced 0.26% to close at 26,757.40 while the Topix index rose 0.27% to end its trading day at 1,786.83.

Japan's exports declined 4.2% in November as compared with a year ago, according to Ministry of Finance data released Wednesday. That was far off the 0.5% rise expected by economists in a Reuters poll.

South Korea's Kospi traded 0.49% higher. Over in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.72%.

Mainland Chinese stocks bucked the overall trend as they dipped on the day, with the Shanghai composite fractionally lower at 3,366.98 while the Shenzhen component declined slightly to 13,751.09. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index rose 0.97% to close at 26,460.29.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.87%.

Elsewhere, shares of Apple suppliers in Asia-Pacific were higher, following a Nikkei report that the Cupertino-based tech giant will increase iPhone production by about 30% in the first half of 2021.

In Japan, Alps Alpine surged 7.14% while Sharp gained 3.02%.

Over in Taiwan, shares of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company gained 1.59% and Largan Precision jumped 3.1%. In mainland China, Luxshare saw its stock rise about 4%. Hong Kong-listed shares of AAC Technologies soared 3.02%.

SMIC shares in Hong Kong drop

Hong Kong-listed shares of China's largest chipmaker SMIC plunged 4.94% on Wednesday. The company's Shanghai-listed shares fell about 5.5%.

Index provider MSCI earlier announced that SMIC's Hong Kong-listed stock was among a list of securities set to be deleted from its global investable market indexes.

SMIC also said Wednesday that its board was aware that co-CEO Mong-song Liang intends to resign, according to a filing to the Shanghai stock exchange.

Investor focus on Wednesday was likely on negotiations ongoing stateside surrounding Covid-19 relief, with the top four congressional leaders meeting Tuesday amid a rush to reach a deal.

Looking ahead, the U.S. Federal Reserve is expected to be dovish at the end of its meeting on Wednesday stateside, though it may note a brighter long-term outlook when it releases economic forecasts due to vaccine developments.

Overnight on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 337.76 points to close at 30,199.31. The S&P 500 snapped a four-day losing streak as it rose 1.3% on the day to 3,694.62. The Nasdaq Composite jumped 1.3% to 12,595.06 — a new record closing high.

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 90.368 after seeing levels above 90.6 earlier in the week.

The Japanese yen traded at 103.40 per dollar, having seen levels around 104.1 against the greenback yesterday. The Australian dollar was at $0.7565 after trading at levels around $0.751 yesterday.

Oil prices edged higher in the afternoon of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up 0.1% to $50.81 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also gained 0.15% to $47.69 per barrel.