China Tumbles Amid COVID Worries

Mainland Chinese stocks struggled for direction Tuesday, wavering between gains and losses as COVID fears took hold with Beijing expanding mass testing.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 recovered 109.33 points, or 0.4%, to 26,700.11.

The Japanese yen traded at 127.81 per U.S. dollar, firmer than levels above 128 earlier.

The Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong regained 65.37 points, or 0.3%, to 19,934.71. Top gainers in Hong Kong included ZTE, which jumped 7.5%.

Mainland and Hong Kong stocks had tumbled Monday as worries over a COVID surge and potential lockdowns in Beijing took hold. Beijing also announced late Monday that mass testing will be expanded to another 10 districts and one economic development area.

In earnings, HSBC reported its first-quarter results which showed pre-tax profit slumped 27% compared to the year before, to $4.2 billion. Still, it beat the average estimate of $3.72 billion from 16 analysts compiled by HSBC, according to Reuters.

HSBC shares listed in Hong Kong fell 4.7% in the afternoon.

Australian markets sank on the first day back from holiday. Major miners slumped, as Rio Tinto fell more than 4%, Fortescue Metals dived 6.88% and BHP plummeted nearly 6%.

The Australian dollar was at $0.7192, trading down from around $0.72 earlier.


In Shanghai, the CSI 300 floundered 30.79 points, or 0.8%, to 3,784.12.

Earlier, China’s central bank released comments from an interview with the Financial Times saying it has noticed recent “fluctuations” in the country’s stock markets, which it said were mostly caused by investor sentiment.

In other markets

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index gave back 17.54 points, or 0.5%, to 3,322.05

In Korea, the Kospi index slid 11.18 points, or 0.4%, to 2,668.31.

In Taiwan, the Taiex index moved up 23.89 points, or 0.1%, to 16,644.79.

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 returned from a long weekend to drop 95.22 points, or 0.8%, to 11,813,18.

In Australia, the ASX 200 came back from ANZAC Day to lose 155.3 points, or 2.1%, to 7,317.98.