Asia Mostly Lower on Oil, Tech

Most Asian markets closed lower on Thursday as oil prices firmed after falling in the last session. Meanwhile, technology stocks in the region declined after U.S. shares in the sector sold off on Wednesday. Investors in the region also digested the better-than-expected official manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index data out of China.

The Nikkei 225 index gained 127.76 points, or 0.6%, to 22,724.96, as losses in major tech names were offset by gains in financial stocks.

The Hang Seng Index dumped 446.48 points, or 1.5%, to 29,177.35

Sony closed down 2.3% and Nintendo ended 2.2% lower. Financials and trading houses rose, with Nomura Holdings climbing 3% by the end of the day. The U.S. dollar extended overnight gains made against the yen to trade at 112.18.

Japan's Oriental Land, which operates Tokyo Disney Resort, intends to grow the theme park to attract tourists, according to Nikkei. The company reportedly has plans to spend 300 billion yen ($2.68 billion U.S) on the expansion. Shares of the company closed up 3.6% following the news.

Tech was among the worst-performing sectors in Hong Kong, following the slide in U.S. tech stocks. The sector was down 3% in afternoon trade, with Tencent lower by 2.2% late afternoon. Property and casino stocks also declined.

Markets also digested the Bank of Korea's decision to raise interest rates for the first time in six years. The central bank increased rates to 1.5% from 1.3% in a move that had been widely expected by markets.

The Korean won tumbled following the rate hike. Late afternoon local time, the currency traded almost 0.5% lower on the day at 1,086.29 won to the U.S. dollar.

Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix, the two-largest names on the Kospi, closed down 3.4% and 6.8%, respectively, with tech the worst-performing sector on the day.

Australian indexes gave up ground, with losses in materials, technology and banking stocks dragging the index lower.

Australian financial stocks ended lower after the government said it would launch an inquiry into the sector. Top executives from the country's so-called "Big Four" had earlier sent a joint letter to Treasurer Scott Morrison calling for "a properly constituted inquiry" into sector in a bid to "restore trust." Commonwealth Bank closed down 1.9% and ANZ fell 1.1%

The New Zealand dollar was in focus after the currency fell more than 0.5% after an ANZ survey showed business confidence in the country had fallen to its lowest levels since 2009. The Kiwi dollar traded at $0.6845 late Thursday afternoon, compared to Wednesday's close of $0.6878.


In Shanghai, the CSI 300 floundered 47.65 points, or 1.2%, to 4,006.10,

China's official manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index came in at 51.8 for November, above the 51.4 forecast by economists.The services sector PMI reading came it at 54.8, compared to the 54.3 seen last month.

In other markets

In Korea, the Kospi index dropped 36.53 points, or 1.5%, to 2,476.37

In Taiwan, the Taiex Index plummeted 153.11 points, or 1.4%, to 10,560.44

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index dropped 5.45 points, or 0.2%, to 3,433.54

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 pointed 44.86 points, or 0.6%, higher to 8,186.82

In Australia, the ASX 200 surrendered 41.22 points, or 0.7%, to 5,969.89