Shares were mixed in Asia on Friday, although markets in Shanghai and Hong Kong declined a day after the Chinese Communist Party marked its centenary with tough talk by Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平).
On Wall Street on Thursday, the benchmark S&P 500 touched a new record in anticipation of a positive US jobs report, which on Friday showed that nonfarm payrolls rose by 850,000 jobs last month.
Recent data have provided encouraging signs of a steady recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
In Taiwan, the TAIEX ended down 3.79 points, or 0.02 percent, at 17,710.15, after moving between 17,676.98 and 17,795,88. Turnover totaled NT$607.080 billion (US$21.69 billion). It posted a weekly gain of 1.18 percent.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 added 0.27 percent to finish at 28,783.28 on Friday, but dropped 0.97 percent from a week earlier, while the broader TOPIX rose 0.88 percent to 1,956.31, declining 0.32 percent week-on-week.
South Korea’s KOSPI was little changed, inching down 0.01 percent to 3,281.78, and posting a weekly decline of 0.64 percent.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.59 percent to 7,308.6, inching up 0.01 percent for the week.
However, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dropped 1.8 percent to 28,310.42, down 1.98 percent from a week earlier, while the Shanghai Composite Index declined 1.95 percent to 3,518.76, losing 2.46 percent week-on-week.
In a speech on Thursday, Xi said anyone who tries to bully China “will face broken heads and bloodshed.”
Xi appeared to be hitting back at the US and others that have criticized China’s trade and technology polices, military expansion and human rights record. The harsh rhetoric also appeared aimed at a domestic audience, but coming at a time of sharp tension with Washington, it struck an ominous tone.
Investors also anticipate a pullback in central bank support for markets in China, analysts said.
Fitch Solutions Inc forecast in a report that Japan’s economy would start to recover as growing numbers of people are vaccinated for COVID-19. Japan’s vaccine rollout pace is about the same as the rest of Asia’s, with about 10 percent of the population fully vaccinated. That lags the US and much of Europe.
“We do note that the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic did create a significantly low base from which to grow from,” Fitch said. “The recovery in retail sales and consumer confidence will rely on the ability of the government to vaccinate enough of the population, so as to allow for the gradual easing of restrictions.”
Additional reporting by staff writer, with CNA
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