Asia Markets

Asia-Pacific markets mixed; HSBC shares jump after reporting surge in first-quarter profits

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Key Points
  • The Bank of Japan on Tuesday announced its decision to keep monetary policy steady.
  • Investors continued to monitor India's Covid situation as the country continues to battle a second wave that is pushing its health-care system to the brink.
  • Shares of HSBC in Hong Kong jumped 2% on Tuesday after the firm said its pre-tax profit rose 79% in the first quarter to $5.8 billion, topping expectations.

SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia-Pacific were mixed on Tuesday as concerns about the pandemic continued to linger.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 fell 0.46% to close at 28,991.89 while the Topix index declined by 0.76% to finish the trading day at 1,903.55.

The Bank of Japan on Tuesday announced its decision to keep monetary policy steady. The Japanese central bank also revised downward its forecast for core inflation in fiscal year 2021 to 0.1% from the 0.5% projected in January.

Multiple regions, including Tokyo and Osaka, were recently placed under a new state of emergency to curb the spread of coronavirus infections.

Stocks on the move

In corporate developments, HSBC reported that its pre-tax profit rose 79% in the first quarter to $5.8 billion — higher than analysts' expectations of $3.34 billion, according to estimates compiled by the bank. Shares of HSBC in Hong Kong jumped 2% on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong-listed shares of Meituan popped 2.62% despite China's State Administration for Market Regulation announcing Monday that the Chinese tech giant was being investigated for suspected monopolistic practices.

The company said it will "actively cooperate with the SAMR's investigation and strictly implement relevant requirements." Meituan also said its business operations "remain normal."

The broader Hang Seng index in Hong Kong slipped slightly to close at 28,941.54. Mainland Chinese stocks nudged higher on the day, with the Shanghai composite 0.04% higher at 3,442.61 while the Shenzhen component advanced 0.279% to 14,264.08.

India Covid situation

Both the Nifty 50 and BSE Sensex in India were up about 1% each, at around 2:01 p.m. local time on Tuesday.

Investors are keeping a close watch on India's Covid situation as South Asian country continues to battle a second wave that has pushed its health-care system to the brink.

Elsewhere, South Korea's Kospi closed fractionally lower, down 0.07% at 3,215.42. Australia shares declined and the S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.17% to finish trading at 7,033.80.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific stocks outside Japan sat fractionally lower.

Overnight on Wall Street, the S&P 500 nudged 0.18% higher to a closing record of 4,187.62 while the Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 61.92 points to 33,981.57. The Nasdaq Composite gained 0.87% to a new record close of 14,138.78,

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 91.025 — struggling to recover following last week's slide from above 91.2.

The Japanese yen traded at 108.30 per dollar, still weaker than levels around 107.5 against the greenback seen late last week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7771, following an earlier high of $0.7803.

Oil prices were higher in the afternoon of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up 0.56% to $66.02 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also advanced 0.68% to $62.33 per barrel.