Asia Mixed over Trade Hope

Major Asia Pacific markets were mixed by the close on Wednesday, as news overnight boosted Brexit optimism.

The Nikkei 225 jumped 265.71 points, or 1.2%, to 22,472.92. Sectors across the board did well, with autos, tech and retail carving out significant gains.

The Japanese yen traded at 108.66, weakening from levels around 108.37 earlier in the week.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index gathered 160.35 points, or 0.6%, to 26,664.28, despite fresh political unrest in the city, which saw embattled leader Carrie Lam heckled by pro-democracy lawmakers in parliament.

In Hong Kong news, nine of its biggest banks are set to meet the city’s de facto central bank on Wednesday to discuss ways to help companies find financing to survive an expected downturn, according to a SCMP report.

The city’s economy has slumped amid protracted demonstrations that have gone on for months and turned increasingly violent.

South Korea’s central bank cut its interest rate for the second time in three months on Wednesday, as expected, following its first cut in July.
Australian markets rallied, as the heavily weighted financial sub-index was up 1.51%, with banks seeing gains.

Meanwhile, the listing of Australian lender Latitude Financial — what was to be the biggest Australian IPO of the year — has been cancelled. Latitude CEO said on Wednesday that the IPO was pulled because investors would not pay a price that reflected its value.

The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6738 following a low of $0.6724 seen earlier.

Meanwhile, Brexit hopes were buoyed by news that the European Union and the U.K. were close to a deal. The sterling spiked to a four-month high after optimistic comments from European negotiator Michel Barnier, with reports that a draft legal text was being drawn up.

In other markets

The CSI 300 slumped 13.56 points, or 0.3%, to 3,922.69

In Taiwan, the Taiex leaped 51.03 points, or 0.5%, to 11,162.83

In Korea, the Kospi gained 14.66 points, or 0.7%, to 2,082.83

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index regained 18.54 points, or 0.6%, to 3,134.71

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 hiked 133.71 points, or 1.2%, to 11,178.64

In Australia, the ASX 200 jumped 84.54 points, or 1.3%, to 6,736.54