Virus Fears Surge Again, Asia Mostly Down

Stocks across Asia-Pacific were mostly down by the close on Friday, amid dampened sentiment on the coronavirus front.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 fell 96.6 points, or 0.4%, to 23,410.63.

The Japanese yen traded at 105.27 per U.S. dollar, strengthening slightly from earlier.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index jumped 228.25 points, or 0.9%, to 24,386.79.

Among earners, chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing on Thursday reported a 35.9% surge in quarterly net profit, with demand boosted by products requiring high-end chips, and ahead of Apple’s new iPhone sales.

In Australia, stocks moved south, as shares of telecom company Aussie Broadband had their debut on the ASX, and rose as much as 2.22 Australian dollars per share — doubling on the issue price of one Australian dollar per share. The shares closed at 1.91 Australian dollars.

Rio Tinto, the world’s largest iron ore miner, posted a 5% drop in third-quarter shipments, and warned that the rate of recovery could slow further in most economies.

The Australian dollar changed hands at 0.7090, falling back from above 0.71 in previous days.

In other markets

In Shanghai, the CSI 300 slid 7.06 points, or 0.2%, to 4,791.68.

In Korea, the Kospi index dropped 19.68 points, or 0.8%, to 2,341.53.

In Taiwan, the Taiex Index swooned 77.45 points, or 0.6%, to 12,750.37.

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index edged ahead 9.4 points, or 0.4%, to 2,533.02

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 deducted 53.57 points, or 0.4%, to 12,433.16.

In Australia, the ASX 200 lost 33.51 points, or 0.5%, to 6,176.79.