Asia Mixed as Hang Seng Vaults

Japanese shares were under pressure on Thursday after jumping more than 2% in its previous session with a stronger yen weighing on exporters.

The Nikkei 225 Index lost 73.47 points, or 0.4%, following Wednesday’s 450-point-plus uprising to 19.520.69.

The Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong zoomed 322.22 points, or 1.5%, to 22,456.69, after the Nikkei Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) for December showed that the private sector economy might be on the cusp of a recovery, with a reading of 50.3, compared to November's PMI at 49.5.

A survey reading above 50 indicates expansion, while a figure below 50 represents contraction.

Electronics conglomerate Sharp bucked the trend in Japan, up 8.9% to 319 yen a share, extending yesterday's gains of more than 8%, on news that it was considering an initial public offering for Sakai Display Products, its LCD joint venture with Hon Hai Precision Industry, Nikkei business daily reported.

Toshiba recovered from its recent plunge to trade up 4.7% to 290.5 yen per share after Chairman Shigenori Shiga said that he heard the Japanese banks were ready to provide financial support after it was hit earlier in the week by fresh reports of profit padding.

Last week, Toshiba said it may have to book several billion dollars in writedowns related to a U.S .nuclear power plant construction company acquisition and the stock has fallen almost 35% since then.

Energy companies led the Hang Seng's gains, with China National Offshore Oil up 2.5% to 10.04 Hong Kong dollars per share, PetroChina up 4.4% at HK$5.98, and Sinopec up 3.4% to HK$5.71. Internet company Tencent was also up 2.2% to HK$193.20 per share.

Australian markets gained ground, led by energy and material plays. The gold sub-index bounded up 2.5% as the yellow metal hit a four-week high.

Gold miner Newcrest Mining was up 1.8% to A$20.71 per share, while Evolution Mining jumped 1.9% to A$2.15.

In Korea, G Display traded up 0.2% at 31,500 won per share, after falling as much as 1% earlier, while the heavily-weighted Samsung Electronics was down 1.7% at 1,778,000 won, after LG Display chief executive said the company was in talks with Samsung Electronics about supplying TV panels, although more concrete details have yet to be released.


In Shanghai, the CSI 300 dropped 0.52 points to 3,367.79

China's Caixin services purchasing managers' index (PMI) for December rose to its highest reading since July 2015 at 53.4 compared to 53.1 in November. This further boosts the view that China's economy is gaining ground, after manufacturing PMI readings earlier this week also came in stronger than expected.

In other markets

In Korea, the Kospi fell 3.69 points, or 0.2%, to 2,041.95

The Straits Times Index in Singapore strengthened 32.83 points, or 1.1%, to 2,954.14

In Taiwan, the Taiex Index gained 71.18 points, or 0.8%, to 9,358.14

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 picked up 1.3 points to 6,975.60

Australia's ASX 200 added 16.94 points, or 0.3%, at 5,753.35