(RTTNews.com) - Asian stocks finished on a mixed note Thursday as traders waited for Friday's OPEC meeting and new developments on global trade. Speculation of imminent monetary policy easing in China helped to limit overall losses to some extent.
Chinese shares hit a two-year closing low as trade war woes overshadowed media reports that Beijing will undertake measures to boost credit supply to smaller companies. The benchmark Shanghai Composite index fell 39.92 points or 1.37 percent to 2,875.81, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index tumbled 400 points or 1.35 percent to 29,296.05.
Japanese shares eked out modest gains as the yen weakened and technology stocks followed their U.S. peers higher. The Nikkei average climbed 137.61 points or 0.61 percent to 22,693.04, while the broader Topix index gave up earlier gains to end lower by 0.12 percent at 1,750.63.
Taiyo Yuden soared 4.3 percent and TDK Corp rallied 3.3 percent in the technology sector. Banks underperformed on a Nikkei report that bad debts from cash advances are piling up at the country's largest banks. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial dropped 2.2 percent and rival Sumitomo Mitsui Financial lost 2.4 percent.
Australian shares extended gains from the previous session to reach a fresh 10-year high. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index climbed 59.50 points or 0.96 percent to 6,232.10 while the broader All Ordinaries index gained 0.93 percent to end at 6,332.90.
Mining heavyweights BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto rose about half a percent as iron ore prices turned higher. The big four banks ended up between half a percent and 1.4 percent.
Atlas Iron dropped 2.2 percent after its board backed a takeover bid by billionaire Gina Rinehart. Mineral Resources declined 1.5 percent. Energy stocks turned in a mixed performance despite crude oil prices rising overnight.
Bellamy's Australia soared 6.2 percent after it signed a deal with global dairy giant Fonterra to help Tasmanian farmers switch to organic practices. Outdoor advertising company APN Outdoor jumped over 12 percent after it received a $1.1 billion takeover offer from French advertising firm JCDecaux.
Seoul stocks closed lower amid selling by institutional and foreign investors as trade worries persisted. The benchmark Kospi fell by 26.08 points or 1.10 percent to close at 2,337.83. Biotechnology, auto and insurance stocks were among the major losers.
New Zealand shares rallied to hit a record high after Fletcher Building announced a restructuring plan, lifting its shares up by 4.2 percent to $6.88. The benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index climbed little over 1 percent to finish at 8,998.78.
Meanwhile, New Zealand's gross domestic product expanded 0.5 percent sequentially in the first three months of 2018, Statistics New Zealand said today, matching expectations and down from 0.6 percent in the previous three months.
India's Sensex was marginally higher in choppy trade and the Taiwan Weighted edged up 0.1 percent, while Singapore's Straits Times index was declining half a percent, Indonesia's Jakarta Composite index was down over 1 percent and Malaysia's KLSE Composite index was down 1.3 percent.
Overnight, U.S. stocks finished mostly higher as trade fears ebbed and media companies jumped after Disney raised its offer for most of Twenty-First Century Fox's media assets.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq climbed 0.7 percent to reach a fresh record closing high and the S&P 500 added 0.2 percent while the Dow slipped 0.2 percent.
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