Asian Shares Mixed As Evergrande Debt Woes Weigh

Asian stocks gave up early gains to end mixed on Thursday amid worries over possible spiraling effects of a debt crisis at developer China Evergrande Group.

China’s Shanghai Composite Index edged up 7.78 points, or 0.2 percent, to 3,594.78 after reports suggested that China Evergrande Group has secured an extension on a defaulted bond.

The company reportedly won a more than three month extension to the maturity of a $260 million bond, a day after a deal to sell a $2.6 billion stake in its property services unit failed.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index ended down 118.49 points, or 0.5 percent, at 26,017.53. Shares of debt-ridden China Evergrande lost 12.5 percent as the company resumed trading after a more than two-week suspension.

Japanese shares fell sharply, with fresh fears around the crisis at Evergrande, concerns ahead of a general election and worries over rising inflation and supply chain issues weighing on markets.

The Nikkei 225 Index tumbled 546.97 points, or 1.9 percent, to close at 28,708.58, while the broader Topix ended 1.3 percent lower at 2,000.81.

Chip-making equipment maker Tokyo Electron led losses, plunging by 4.6 percent, while heavyweights SoftBank Group and Fast Retailing dropped 2-3 percent.

ANA Holdings lost 2.3 percent and Japan Airlines gave up 1.8 percent amid signs of rising Covid-19 infections in the U.K. Automakers Honda Motor and Toyota fell over 2 percent as the safe-haven yen rose broadly.

Australian markets fluctuated before ending on a flat note as millions in Melbourne prepared to come out of the world’s longest COVID-19 lockdown later in the night.

Evergrande worries weighed on the mining sector, with Rio Tinto and Mineral Resources losing 1-2 percent. Investment group Perpetual jumped 7.8 percent after the company said it had closed the first quarter with 2.7 percent growth in assets under management.

Engineering contractor CIMIC Group rallied 5.9 percent after reporting an increase in revenue and providing a positive outlook. Tech stocks such as Altium, Nearmap and Xero all rose about 3 percent.

Seoul stocks ended lower for the second day running amid concerns over rising inflation and an uncertain economic outlook. The Kospi ended a choppy session down 5.80 points, or 0.2 percent, at 3,007.33. Chipmaker SK Hynix declined 1.6 percent and LG Chem slumped 4 percent.

New Zealand shares ended little changed, with the benchmark NZX-50 Index closing up 11.74 points at 13,125.98 in volatile trading.

U.S. stocks ended broadly higher overnight as traders reacted positively to another batch of largely upbeat corporate earnings news and shrugged off the Fed’s Beige Book report showing that labor and supply shortages are cramping the U.S. economy.

The Dow and the S&P 500 both rose about 0.4 percent, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index ended marginally lower.

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