Markets

Asian Shares End On Tepid Note Amid Virus Worries

(RTTNews) - Asian stocks ended flat to slightly lower on Monday as rising coronavirus cases in the U.S. and other parts of the world diminished hopes of a quick economic recovery.

Chinese shares ended on a flat note after the country's central bank kept its benchmark lending rate steady for the second month in a row, but pumped cash into banking system via reverse repos to maintain liquidity.

Meanwhile, an official reportedly said Sunday that the Chinese capital of Beijing is capable of screening almost 1 million people a day for the coronavirus.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite index ended down 2.36 points at 2,965.27, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index gave up 0.54 percent to close at 24,511.34.

Japanese shares ended a choppy session slightly lower after reports showed a surge in coronavirus infections in several U.S. states. The Nikkei average ended down 41.52 points, or 0.18 percent, at 22,437.27, while the broader Topix index closed 0.23 percent lower at 1,579.09.

Japan Airlines fell over 1 percent on news it is looking to raise 500 billion yen from lenders. The airline also posted its first quarterly loss after relisting its shares in 2012.

Australian markets recovered from an early slide to end on a flat note. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index ended up 1.90 points at 5,944.50 as the country's second most populous state Victoria recorded another 16 new cases of Covid-19 overnight, the highest in more than two months. The broader All Ordinaries index ended down 3.60 points at 6,058.

The big four banks rose between half a percent and 1.2 percent while energy companies such as Origin Energy and Oil Search fell 2.3 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively.

Transurban Group slumped 4.1 percent after the toll road operator said it will pay a reduced second-half dividend amid a fall in traffic volumes due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Gold miner Ramelius Resources gained as much as 16.8 percent after upgrading its full-year production guidance. Austal soared 9.5 percent after the U.S. government agreed to invest $50 mln in Austal USA.

Metcash rose over 1 percent despite reporting a full-year loss. James Hardie Industries jumped 7.3 percent after the building product maker raised its earnings margin outlook for the June quarter.

Seoul stocks ended notably lower as investors fretted over a second wave of new coronavirus cases both at home and abroad. The benchmark Kospi dropped 14.59 points, or 0.68 percent, to 2,126.73.

South Korea added 67 new cases Saturday, the highest in 23 days, and 48 new infections Sunday, raising the accumulative total to 12,421.

According to the World Health Organization, there were 183,020 new infections globally in the last 24 hours, the largest single-day hike in coronavirus cases.

In economic releases, official data showed that South Korea's exports fell 7.5 percent year-on-year in the first 20 days of June, dashing hopes for a quick economic recovery.

New Zealand shares ended off their day's lows, with the benchmark NZX-50 index finishing down 96.28 points, or 0.86 percent, at 11,158.46.

Heavyweight A2 Milk Company plunged 4.7 percent after confirming it was in talks with a number of parities in relation to potential strategic options relating to participation in manufacturing capacity and capability.

U.S. stocks ended mostly lower on Friday as several U.S. states reported a jump in new coronavirus infections and the World Health Organization warned that the pandemic is "accelerating and the world is in a new and dangerous phase".

Markets also reacted to Boston Federal Reserve President Eric Rosengren's remarks that the U.S. economy may not see a fast recovery and that it would need more support from the Fed and Congress.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 0.8 percent and the S&P 500 slid 0.6 percent, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite finished marginally higher.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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