Tue, 02 Mar 2021

Japanese stocks rise, Australian market slides

Lola Evans
27 Jan 2021, 16:44 GMT+10

SYDNEY, NSW, Australia - Stocks in Asia were mixed on Wednesday.

Japan's Nikkei 225 eked out a small gain despite concerns about deflation, and the likelihood that the European Union is about to ban travellers from Japan because of the resurging number of Covid-19 cases.

"The battle to prevent deflation is only beginning," Shunsuke Kobayashi, chief economist at Mizuho Securities Co told The Japan Times on Wednesday. "We have not stepped into the deflation zone. But inflation expectations have been weakening and it's hard to predict prices will follow an upward trend now."

At the close on Wednesday, the Nikkei 225 was behind 89.03 points or 0.31 percent at 28,635.21.

The U.S. dollar failed to extend overnight gains in the Asian time zone, but held its ground. The euro traded around 1.2162 approaching the Sydney close. The British pound was strong at 1.3762. The Japanese yen was little changed at 103.66 The Swiss franc was unmoved at 0.8863.

The Canadian dollar was quoted at 1.2714. The Australian dollar changed hands at 0.7740. The New Zealand dollar was well bid at 0.7227.

After hitting an 11-month high on Tuesday, the Australian All Ordinaries on Wednesday lost ground. Mining giants BHP, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals took the biggest hits on the back of a sharp fall in iron ore prices. Fortescue dived 6.4 percent, Rio Tinto lost 3.9 percent, while BHP shed 3.4 percent.

At the close on Wednesday, the Australian All Ordinaries was down 51.20 points or 0.72 percent at 7,060.20.

China's Shanghai Composite advanced 3.91 points or 0.11 percent to 3,573.34.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng shed 93.73 points or 0.32 percent to 29,297.53.

Overnight on Wall Street, the Dow Jones index was down 22.96 points or 0.07 percent at 30,937.04.

The Standard and Poor's 500 fell 5.74 points or 0.15 percent to 3,849.62.

The Nasdaq Composite weakened by 9.93 points or 0.15 percent to 3,849.62.

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