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Asia Mostly Lower, Though H-K Gains

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index surged 3.5% on Wednesday, powered by tech stocks as other Asia-Pacific markets mostly fell.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 tumbled 291.09 points, or 0.8%, to 36,226.48.

Japan’s December exports beat expectations, with its trade balance turning in a $62.1-billion surplus compared with a $122.1-billion deficit expected by a Reuters poll of economists. The data comes a day after the Bank of Japan left its monetary policy unchanged.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index popped 545.89 points, or 3.6%, to 15,899.87, as Alibaba shares spiked, before paring some gains. The Chinese tech giant jumped as much as 6.57% after founder Jack Ma reportedly bought $50 million of Alibaba shares listed in Hong Kong.

Korea’s Kospi index faded with heavyweights Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix recording the largest losses among the top 10 stocks on the benchmark index.

Australian markets were up marginally. Australia PMI surveys from Juno Bank showed an expansion in manufacturing activity in January after 11 straight months of contraction. Business activity in the country also saw a softer contraction in January compared to December.


In Shanghai, the CSI 300 moved higher 45.18 points, or 1.4%, to 3,277.11.

Just after the markets closed, the People’s Bank of China governor said the central bank would cut its reserve requirement ratio for financial institutions by 50 basis points from Feb. 5.

In other markets

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index regained 18.08 points or 0.6%, to 3,153,33.

In Taiwan, the Taiex nicked higher 1.24 points to 17,875.83.

In Korea, the Kospi index erased 8.92 points, or 0.4%, to 2,469.69.

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 tacked on 53.73 points, or 0.5%, to 11,856.61.

In Australia, the ASX 200 eked forward 4.25 points, or 0.1%, to 7,519.19.