Reaction to Xi Speech Weighs on Asia

Stocks in Asia-Pacific were lower on Wednesday, as investors reacted to a speech from Chinese President Xi Jinping.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 gained 24.95 points, or 0.1%, to 23,626.73.

The Japanese yen traded at 105.39 per U.S. dollar, having seen levels around 105.3 against the greenback earlier in the trading week.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index returned from a day of being suspension by a typhoon with marginal gains of 17.41 points, or 0.1%, to 24,667.09.

Hong Kong-listed shares of China Evergrande Group tanked by 16.96% after the firm announced a share placement with estimated gross proceeds of 4.3 billion Hong Kong dollars ($555 million U.S.).

That came following reports that the company was looking to raise up to $1.1 billion U.S. from the share placement. The property developer has been in the spotlight recently amid concerns over its cash position.

Shares of Apple suppliers in the region were also watched on Wednesday after the Cupertino-based tech giant unveiled its latest iPhone lineup on Tuesday.

In Japan, shares of Taiyo Yuden slipped 0.3% while Murata Manufacturing added 0.6%. Over in South Korea, LG Display jumped 1.9%. Largan Precision's stock in Taiwan dipped 0.7% while Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company shed 0.7%.

Singapore shares moved lower, after official estimates showed the country's economy contracted 7% in the third quarter as compared to a year ago.

The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7172 following its decline this week from levels above $0.72.


In Shanghai, the CSI 300 lost 32.7 points, or 0.7%, to 4,807.10.

Investors reacted to Xi’s speech in Shenzhen on Wednesday, as the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone celebrated the 40th anniversary of its establishment.

Xi emphasized the importance of protecting the "legitimate rights and interests of entrepreneurs, property rights as well as intellectual property rights in accordance with the law," according to a translation of his speech. That would "motivate entrepreneurs to start up and develop their businesses," he said.

State media outlet Xinhua reported Sunday that the country "unveiled a new comprehensive reform plan for Shenzhen," giving local authorities there a "more direct and greater say in business" in areas such as carrying out market-based economic reforms.

In other markets

In Korea, the Kospi index fell 22.67 points, or 0.9%, to 2,380.48.

In Taiwan, the Taiex Index slumped 8.78 points, or 0.1%, to 12,947.13.

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index slipped 12.06 points, or 0.5%, to 2,555.59.

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 added 89.76 points, or 0.7%, to 12,543.61.

In Australia, the ASX 200 retreated 16.58 points, or 0.3%, to 6,179.17.