Japan Zooms on Political Developments

Shares in Japan jumped on Friday after Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said he will not be running in the upcoming leadership election.

The Nikkei 225 sprang up 584.6 points, or 2.1%, to 29,128.11.

The Japanese yen traded at 109.97 per U.S. dollar, still stronger than levels around 110.4 seen against the greenback earlier this week.

Japanese manufacturing stocks saw big gains, with Fanuc jumping 3.46% while JFE Holdings surged 6.5%.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index collapsed 188.44 points, or 0.7%, to 25,091.99.

Hong Kong-listed shares of Alibaba fell 3.57% following reports that the firm is set to invest 100 billion yuan (about $15.5 billion U.S.) by 2025 for "common prosperity."

As for Suga, his bowing out of the leadership race for his party paves the way for a new prime minister. Suga has been under fire for his handling of the COVID situation in Japan, which included the hosting of the Tokyo Summer Olympic Games while the city was under a state of emergency.

The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.743 following its climb earlier in the week from below $0.732.

CHINA

In Shanghai, the CSI 300 fell 26.35 points, or 0.5%, to 4,843.06.

The Caixin/Markit services Purchasing Managers’ Index came in at 46.7, against July’s reading of 54.9. Earlier this week, the official non-manufacturing PMI for August showed contraction in the sector for the first time since early 2020.

PMI readings above 50 represent expansion, while those below that level signal contraction. PMI readings are sequential and represent month-on-month expansion or contractions.

In other markets

In Korea, the Kospi index recovered 25.21 points, or 0.8%, to 3,201.06

In Singapore, the Straits Times subtracted 4.99 points, or 0.2%, to 3,083.85

In Taiwan, the Taiex index revived 197.16 points, or 1.1%, to 17,516.92

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 added 8.4 points, or 0.1%, to 13,288.87

In Australia, the ASX 200 gained 37.17 points, or 0.5%, at 7,522.91