Asian markets were mixed on Friday after major indices edged higher on Wall Street, preserving their gains for the week.
Hong Kong and Shanghai fell, while Taipei, Sydney and Seoul advanced. Tokyo was closed for a holiday.
The MSCI Asia-Pacific Index fell 0.94 percent to 200.92 points, down 1.9 percent for the week.
Surges in COVID-19 cases around the region are prompting governments to tighten COVID-19 pandemic restrictions that are expected to slow business activity and keep travel to a minimum.
Thailand reported a daily record of 14,575 cases, with 114 deaths, as a stricter set of limits went into effect in many areas.
The country’s central bank has said the latest, worst outbreak could cause the economy to contract by 2 percent this year, instead of the recovery it had earlier forecast.
The SET in Bangkok fell 0.4 percent on Friday, down 1.8 percent for the week.
The TAIEX in Taipei on Friday inched up less than 0.1 percent to 17,572.92 points, but lost 1.58 percent weekly.
In Seoul, the KOSPI on Friday rose 0.1 percent, losing 0.7 percent weekly, while Sydney’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.11 percent, adding 0.6 percent for the week.
Hong Kong stocks fell on Friday, dragged down by technology, education and property shares, as deepening concerns over Beijing’s tighter regulations weighed on sentiment.
The Hang Seng Index fell 1.5 percent, down 2.44 percent weekly, while the China Enterprises Index lost 1.7 percent, bringing its weekly loss to 3 percent.
Morgan Stanley said in a note that investors should monitor actual earnings results from Chinese companies within the next few weeks to reconcile positive corporate alerts and declining consensus expectations.
“We suggest more patience ... for better calibration of market expectations among other near-term market overhangs including regulatory uncertainties, policy direction debate, and geopolitical tension,” Morgan Stanley said.
China is to crack down on after-school tutoring businesses and ban listings of tutoring institutions, according to a soft copy of a government document circulating on social media. Reuters was unable to immediately verify its authenticity.
The Hang Seng Tech Index slumped nearly 3 percent to the lowest closing level since October last year.
“Asian equities traded sideways on Friday, mirroring choppy price action on Wall Street overnight,” Anderson Alves of ActivTrades said in a commentary.
Additional reporting by staff writer
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