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Asian markets rise as Omicron concerns recede

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Relevance up to 13:00 2021-12-23 UTC+00

Main Asian stock indexes are on the rise, following the upside movement in the US markets. The Shanghai Composite and the Shenzhen Composite gained 0.03% and 0.64% respectively. The Hang Seng Index added 0.43%. The KOSPI, the Nikkei 225 and the S&P/ASX 200 rose by 0.18%, 0.15%, and 0.01% respectively.

Trader sentiment improved on receding concerns over the spread of the Omicron strain of COVID-19. South Africa reported the lowest number of confirmed Omicron cases in 2 weeks, suggesting that other countries could avoid resorting to severe restrictions.

Market players are following the Federal Reserve’s decisions on monetary tightening. Reports last week indicated the Fed was ready to wind down QE and raise interest rates next year.

The Shenzhen Composite index went up as traders closed short positions. Increased government regulations and US sanctions severely affected Chinese tech companies in 2021, with the situation likely to remain unchanged in 2022.

Among stocks of Chinese companies, Xiaomi Corp. edged up by 0.1%, Tencent Holdings, Ltd. and Alibaba Group Holding, Ltd. both added 0.2%. The best performing stocks were San’an Optoelectronics (+8.1%), Luxshare Precision (+5.8%), BYD Co. (+1.4%), Andon Health (+3.7%), Goerteck (+5.8%), Bluefocus Intelligence (+6.2%), Wuhu Token (+15%), as well as Gigadevice Semiconductor (4.4%).

On the Nikkei 225, the best performers were Advantest (+1.6%), Renesas Electronics (+2.3%), Ana Holdings (+1.6%), and Japan Airlines (+3.3%). Other Japanese companies slumped: Nippon Yusen declined by 0.3%, Kawasaki Kisen lost 1.1%, Mitsui OSK decreased by 0.2%. Toyota and Fast Retailing went down by 0.8% and 0.4% respectively.

In South Korea, Samsung Electronics Co. (+1.3%), SK Hynix Inc. (+2%), and Kia Corp. (+1%) went up following the rising KOSPI index. Shares of LG Corp. lost 0.1%.

In Australia, stocks of many companies went down due to falling raw material prices, despite the increase of the Australian index. Shares of Fortescue Metal Group lost 1.8%, BHP Group, Ltd declined by 0.8%, and Rio Tinto, Ltd. fell by 2%. The price of Charter Hall stock slumped by 7.5% on the news of its acquisition of a 50% stake in Paradice Investment Management.

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