Asian stock markets were mixed on Friday as questions about the effectiveness of one COVID-19 vaccine candidate weighed on investor optimism.
Benchmarks in Mumbai and Sydney retreated, while Hong Kong, Tokyo and Seoul gained.
Investors have been encouraged by reports of progress toward a possible vaccine.
However, they were uneasy after researchers questioned data that showed a candidate from the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca was 70 percent effective.
“Market participants showed increasing signs of nervousness as data errors were revealed,” Mizuho Bank Ltd said in a report.
The MSCI Asia-Pacific ex-Japan index rose 0.15 percent to 635.20, up 1.6 percent for the week.
In Taipei, the TAIEX rose 0.2 percent to 13,867.09, adding 1.1 percent for the week.
Hong Kong stocks ended at a nine-month high on Friday, gaining for the fourth week in a row, tracking mainland strength as upbeat profits from industrial firms pointed to a continued recovery in China’s economy.
The Hang Seng Index (HSI) rose 0.3 percent to 26,894.68, its highest closing level since Feb. 21, while the China Enterprises Index (HSCE) gained 0.8 percent to 10,790.30 points.
For the week, the HSI rose 1.7 percent, while the HSCE climbed 2.2 percent, both posting their fourth week of gains in a row.
Profits at Chinese industrial firms last month rose 28.2 percent annually, official data showed, pointing to a steady recovery in the manufacturing sector after it was hit by the pandemic.
China’s factory activity likely expanded at a slightly faster pace this month, a Reuters poll showed on Friday, as the world’s second-largest economy steadily recovers from the coronavirus crisis.
“Overall, we believe China’s economic recovery remains largely on track and maintain our real GDP growth forecast of 5.7% y-o-y for Q4, up from 4.9% in Q3. We firmly believe Beijing will maintain its policy stance,” Nomura Holdings Inc analysts wrote in a note on Friday.
The benchmark Hang Seng Index would face resistance at about the 27,000-point level, the brokerage added.
The Hang Seng financials index gained 3.7 percent for the week, its fourth straight weekly gain.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 on Friday rose 0.4 percent to 26,644.71, up 4.4 percent weekly, while the TOPIX rose 0.5 percent, bringing its weekly gain to 3.4 percent.
The KOSPI in Seoul added 0.3 percent to 2,633.45 points, rising 3.1 percent for the week.
Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 on Friday fell 0.5 percent to 6,601.10 points, paring its weekly gain to 0.9 percent.
India’s SENSEX fell 0.3 percent, but was up 0.6 percent for the week. New Zealand, Bangkok and Jakarta gained, while Singapore retreated.
Additional reporting by staff writer
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