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22 Jan 2021 | 11:37

Asia report: Most markets weaker, CNOOC plunges

(Sharecast News) - Most markets in Asia finished weaker on Friday, with Chinese oil giant CNOOC seeing some serious losses in Hong Kong. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 was down 0.44% at 28,631.45, as the yen weakened 0.17% against the dollar to last trade at JPY 103.68.

Of the major components on the benchmark index, automation specialist Fanuc was down 1.28%, fashion firm Fast Retailing was off 0.05%, and technology conglomerate SoftBank Group was off 1.63%.

The broader Topix index was 0.21% weaker by the end of trading in Tokyo, closing at 1,856.64.

On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite lost 0.4% to 3,606.75, and the smaller, technology-centric Shenzhen Composite was 0.28% firmer at 2,456.24.

South Korea's Kospi was 0.64% lower at 3,140.63, while the Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong slid 1.6% to 29,447.85.

CNOOC stock was down 5.57% by the end of trading in the special administrative region, after index compiler MSCI said it would remove the company from the MSCI ACWI and MSCI China All Share indices.

That move came after the US Department of Commerce said last week that it had added CNOOC to a blacklist restricting it from doing certain business with American companies, under the administration of former president Donald Trump.

The blue-chip technology stocks were lower in Seoul, with Samsung Electronics down 1.48% and SK Hynix 2.28% weaker.

Moves in Asia went in the opposite direction to those on Wall street overnight, where indices turned in a decent performance on Joe Biden's first full day in the Oval Office.

"The actions of President Biden in looking to bear down on the virus with a raft of executive orders appear to be helping boost US stock markets, as the new US administration takes action to combat the spread of the virus, as well as boost the vaccination program, with the tech heavy Nasdaq leading the way," said CMC Markets chief market analyst Michael Hewson.

"The gains in the US last night don't appear to have filtered through to markets in Asia," he added.

Oil prices were lower as the region went to bed, with Brent crude last down 2.44% at $54.73 per barrel, and West Texas Intermediate 2.69% lower at $51.70.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 was off 0.34% at 6,800.40, while across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand's S&P/NZX 50 gained 1.69% to 13,333.43.

Both of the down under dollars were weaker against the greenback, with the Aussie last off 0.74% at AUD 1.2973, and the Kiwi retreating 0.61% to NZD 1.3934.
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