Asian Shares Mixed After Powell Nomination

Asian stocks ended mixed on Tuesday as a worrying jump in coronavirus infections in Europe and uncertainty over the pace of future U.S. interest rate hikes kept underlying sentiment cautious. The Japanese market was closed on account of Labor Thanksgiving Day.

China’s Shanghai Composite Index rose 7.01 points, or 0.2 percent, to 3,589.09 amid bets the Chinese central bank still has an easing bias in its policy stance.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index slumped 299.76 points, or 1.2 percent, to 24,651.58 as tech stocks fell amid continued regulatory concerns related to online companies.

China Evergrande jumped 6.6 percent and shares of its electric vehicle unit Evergrande New Energy Vehicle Group soared 14.8 percent. The latter said on Friday it would issue about 900 million shares at HK$3 apiece through a top-up placement.

Australian markets rose notably, with mining and energy stocks leading the surge. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index climbed 57.50 points, or 0.8 percent, to 7,410.60, marking its best session since November 12. The broader All Ordinaries Index ended up 53.40 points, or 0.7 percent, at 7,741.70.

BHP Group jumped 4 percent and Woodside Petroleum added 3.5 percent, a day after they gave the final sign-off on their $12 billion Scarborough LNG project.

Iron ore miner Fortescue Metals Group soared 9.8 percent and Rio Tinto advanced 3.6 percent after prices for the steel commodity surged. Santos and Origin Energy climbed 2-3 percent after oil prices rose on Monday.

The manufacturing sector in Australia expanded at a faster pace in November, the latest survey from Markit Economics showed, with a manufacturing PMI score of 58.5, up from 58.2 in October.

The report also showed that the services PMI improved from 51.8 to 55.0 amid easing of Covid-19 restrictions in the country.

Seoul stocks fell as traders booked profits after the recent tech rally. The benchmark Kospi dropped 15.92 points, or 0.5 percent, to 2,997.33.

Top automaker Hyundai Motor declined 1.6 percent, internet portal operator Naver declined 2.4 percent and chemical firm LG Chem lost 3.3 percent.

Consumer confidence in South Korea picked up steam in November, the latest survey from the Bank of Korea showed today, with the sentiment index rising to 107.6 from 106.8 in October.

New Zealand shares ended higher as retail sales figures came in better than expected sequentially in Q3. The benchmark NZX-50 Index rose 80.89 points, or 0.6 percent, to settle at 12,688.53. Top stock Fisher & Paykel Healthcare gained 1.5 percent and a2 Milk climbed 1.9 percent.

U.S. stocks ended mixed overnight after President Joe Biden nominated Jerome Powell for a second term as Fed chairman and current Fed Governor Lael Brainard as vice chair.

The S&P 500 eased 0.3 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite shed 1.3 percent as Treasury yields jumped after the announcement. The Dow ended flat with a positive bias.

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