Asia-Pacific Mostly Higher

Stocks in major Asia-Pacific markets were mostly higher on Wednesday, with Hong Kong-listed shares of Chinese tech juggernaut Alibaba surging following the reappearance of founder Jack Ma.

The Nikkei 225 stepped back 110.2 points, or 0.4%, to 28,523.26.

The Japanese yen traded at 103.76 per U.S. dollar, stronger than an earlier level of 103.93 against the greenback.

The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong leaped 320.19 points, or 1.1%, to 29,962.47.

Shares of Alibaba listed in the city surged 8.5% after Ma appeared in a video posted on Chinese social media addressing rural teachers as part of one of his charity foundation’s initiatives. It was his first appearance following weeks out of the spotlight as his companies face increased regulatory scrutiny.

Shares of other Chinese tech firms listed in Hong Kong also saw strong gains, with Tencent up 3.7% while Meituan soared 9.1%.
In corporate developments, shares of South Korean automaker Kia Motors surged 5.04% after the firm said it is looking at electric car projects with multiple firms.

That development came after a local online publication reported that Kia’s parent Hyundai Motor Group had decided Kia would be in charge of the proposed cooperation with Cupertino-based tech giant Apple on electric cars.

The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7735, still off levels above $0.775 seen last week.

CHINA

In Shanghai, the CSI 300 regained 38.91 points, or 0.7%, to 5,476.43

The moves in Chinese stocks came as the one-year prime rate (LPR) and five-year LPR in China were both left unchanged at 3.85% and 4.65%, respectively. It was in line with expectations of a majority of traders and analysts in a snap Reuters poll.

In other markets

In Korea, the Kospi index gained 21.89 points, or 0.7%, to 3,114.55

In Singapore, the Straits Times inched up 2.85 points, or 0.1%, to 2,998.77

In Taiwan, the Taiex Index lost 71.19 points, or 0.5%, to 15,806.18

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 jumped 145.14 points, or 1.1%, to 13,026.45.

In Australia, the ASX 200 took on 27.78 points, or 0.4%, to 6,770.40