Work in China Back to Normal, Stocks Recover

Stocks in Asia were mixed on Friday as concerns lingered over the economic impact of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

The Nikkei 225 index doffed 92.41 points, or 0.4%, to 23,386.74, as shares of index heavyweight and conglomerate SoftBank Group gained 2.4%.

The Japanese yen traded at 111.92 after weakening from levels around 111.2 yesterday.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index plummeted 300.35 points, or 1.1%, to 27,308.81, with shares of conglomerate Ping An Insurance shedding 0.93% following the release of its earnings on Thursday for the year.

Elsewhere, stocks in South Korea led losses among major markets in the region, with the Kospi falling 1.49% to close at 2,162.84 as shares of SK Hynix dropped 1%. The chip maker said Thursday that 800 of its workers had quarantined themselves after a trainee was found to have had contact with a virus patient.

On Thursday, the country reported its first coronavirus death. The number of new confirmed cases in South Korea has also risen sharply in recent days, with the country now having one of the highest number of cases outside mainland China.

Australian markets faded as shares of Wesfarmers dropped 2%. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6595 after dropping steeply from levels above $0.664 yesterday.

CHINA

The CSI 300 gained 4.83 points, or 0.1%, to 4,149.49.

In corporate news, shares of major contract manufacturer and iPhone maker Hon Hai Precision Industry, better known as Foxconn, fell about 1.3% on Friday. The firm said Thursday it is cautiously restarting production at its main plants in China and warned revenue would be hurt by the virus

China’s Ministry of Commerce said Friday the resumption of work has been rapidly increasing in major foreign trade provinces such as Guangdong and Jiangsu.

Guangdong was the top source of China’s exports by far in 2019, followed in order by Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Shanghai and Shandong, according to official data accessed through Wind Information.

In other markets

In Taiwan, the Taiex dipped 38.74 points, or 0.3%, to 11,686.35

In Korea, the Kospi index settled 32.66 points, or 1.5%, to 2,162.84

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index deleted 17.65 points, or 0.6%, to 3,181.03

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 squeaked higher 8.48 points, or 0.1%, to 12,073.34

In Australia, the ASX 200 lost 23.53 points, or 0.3%, to 7,138.96