Asian shares mixed with tech stocks in limelight, Hang Seng up

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Investing.com - Asian shares were mixed on Thursday as Hong Kong moved higher and Japanese shares fell as the markets digested the earnings from high-profile technology companies.

Shares in Tencent Holdings Ltd (OTC:TCTZF) surged 5.6% in Hong Kong, after the Chinese Internet giant said that its first quarter net profit rose 60% from a year earlier. The results beat expectations.

Investors were also digesting earnings from another high-profile Asian technology company, Sony Corp Ord (TOKYO:6758) The company's shares were down 6.8% after it predicted on Wednesday its sixth annual loss in seven years due to prolonged problems at its consumer-electronics division.

The Hang Seng index ended the morning up 0.30%, while the Nikkei 225 was down 0.88% despite first quarter GDP growth in Japan gaining 1.5%, faster than the expected 1.0% - though prospects for slowdown this quarter are evident as the growth figure was linked to a surge in sales before a sales tax hike to 8% from 5% took place April 1.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.1%, South Korea's KOSPI was up 0.1%.

Overnight, U.S. stocks fell as markets continued to sell technology and small-cap stocks on sentiment that monetary stimulus tools are on their way out. The Dow 30 fell 0.61%, the S&P 500 index fell 0.47%, while the NASDAQ Composite Composite index fell 0.72%.

On Thursday, the U.S. is to release data on initial jobless claims, consumer inflation, industrial production as well as a report on manufacturing activity in the Philadelphia region.

Investors hope the flurry of numbers will shed light on whether a more robut albeit a still stop-and-go recovery is due to a rough winter or true slowdown in demand.

Uncertainty ahead of time kept many on the sidelines despite upbeat wholesale pricing data.

The Commerce Department reported earlier that producer prices increased by 0.6% last month, beating forecasts for a 0.2% gain, after rising 0.5% in March.

The Federal Reserve views core prices as a better gauge of longer-term inflationary pressure because they exclude the volatile food and energy categories.

Elsewhere, investors continued to sell technology and small-cap equities, the beneficiaries of exceptionally loose monetary policies since the 2008 downtown.

The Federal Reserve is expected to wind up its monthly bond-buying program later this year.

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