Asia Mostly Falls as Brexit Could be Delayed Again

Major Asia Pacific markets mostly fell by the close on Wednesday afternoon, as developments on Brexit overnight meant the deadline for the U.K. to leave the European Union would likely be delayed again.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 index returned from holiday to gain 76.48 points, or 0.3%, to 22,625.38. Softbank shares tumbled 2.5%, as the Japanese tech giant struck a deal to take over the embattled WeWork.

The Japanese yen traded at 108.36, strengthening from 108.51 seen earlier.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index dropped 219.47 points, or 0.8%, to 26,566.73.

Korean markets were lower, as major Apple supplier LG Display reported a larger-than-expected quarterly operating loss on Wednesday, as liquid crystal display panel prices fell. It posted a loss of 437 billion won ($372.7 million U.S.) for the third quarter, versus a profit of 140 billion won in the same period a year earlier.

Ahead of the report, its stock fell 2.1% by the close.

Samsung Biologics also reported third-quarter earnings. Its operating profit was up 124.7% to 23.6 billion won ($20.13 million) compared to a year ago. Its stock had surged 8.28% by the close, amid anticipation that U.S. drugmaker Biogen may place a manufacturing order for its Alzheimer’s treatment.

Over in Singapore, shares of conglomerate Keppel, after surging as much as 16% on Tuesday, maintained investor interest and rose 0.3% on Wednesday afternoon. That followed a surprise $4-billion partial bid by Singapore state investing giant Temasek Holdings earlier this week.

Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund released new projections on Wednesday that showed growth in Asian economies could be slower than expected. It said growth in Asia could moderate to 5% in 2019, and 5.1% in 2020 — that’s 0.4% and 0.3% lower than its April projections.

Overnight, the sterling was hit by Brexit developments. U.K. lawmakers voted to reject a limited time frame for reviewing legislation related to Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union. It now means that the U.K. is almost certainly not going to leave the U.K. on October 31— the current deadline, and the E.U. may provide an extension to prevent a no-deal Brexit occurring.

The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6844 following a low of $0.6831 seen earlier.

In other markets

In Shanghai, the CSI 300 slid 24.8 points, or 0.6%, to 3,871.08

In Taiwan, the Taiex declined 31.58 points, or 0.3%, to 11,239.67

In Korea, the Kospi subtracted 8.24 points, or 0.4%, to 2,080.62

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index faded 16.39 points, or 0.5%, to 3,144.28

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 tumbled 236.59 points, or 2.1%, to 10.,853.79

In Australia, the ASX 200 poked higher 0.91 points to 6,673.09