Asia Markets

Asia-Pacific markets mixed; RBI keeps interest rates unchanged

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Key Points
  • The Reserve Bank of India on Friday announced its decision to keep interest rates steady.
  • Hong Kong-listed shares of Alibaba slipped 0.57% in Friday afternoon trade. The losses came despite Alibaba-affiliate Ant Group receiving approval to operate a consumer finance company.

SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia-Pacific were mixed on Friday, as the Reserve Bank of India held steady on interest rates.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index closed 0.17% lower at 28,918.10. In mainland China, the Shanghai composite rose 0.21% on the day to 3,591.84 while the Shenzhen component gained 0.744% to close at 14,870.91.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 fell 0.4% to close at 28,941.52 while the Topix index finished the trading day fractionally higher at 1,959.19. South Korea's Kospi closed 0.23% lower at 3,240.08.

Meanwhile, stocks in Australia advanced, with the S&P/ASX 200 0.49% higher on the day to 7,295.40.

Shares in India were lower in Friday trade, with the Nifty 50 declining 0.41% and the BSE Sensex falling 0.51%, as of 1:49 p.m. local time. The moves came after the Reserve Bank of India on Friday announced its decision to keep interest rates steady.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan dipped 0.25%.

Tech stock watch

Hong Kong-listed shares of Alibaba slipped 0.28% on Friday. The losses came despite Alibaba-affiliate Ant Group receiving approval to operate a consumer finance company. That marked a major positive development for Ant in the forced restructuring of its business months after its highly anticipated debut was abruptly shelved.

Other Hong Kong-listed Chinese tech firms also declined: Baidu plunged 3.1% while Tencent slipped 0.65% and Meituan dropped 1.69%. The broader Hang Seng Tech index fell 0.84% to 8,095.64.

Investor sentiment on the sector may have taken a hit after U.S. President Joe Biden on Thursday expanded restrictions on American investments in certain Chinese firms with alleged ties to the country's military and surveillance efforts. Chinese telecommunications powerhouse Huawei Technologies was among the 59 companies named.

Technology stocks elsewhere fell in Friday trade. Japanese conglomerate Softbank Group declined 1.29% while South Korean chipmaker SK Hynix shed 0.39%.

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 90.551 after a recent climb from below 90.3.

The Japanese yen traded at 110.17 per dollar, weaker than levels below 110 seen against the greenback yesterday. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7663, lower than levels above $0.772 seen earlier in the week.

Oil prices rose in the afternoon of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures 0.45% higher at $71.63 per barrel. U.S. crude futures advanced 0.51% to $69.16 per barrel.