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Asia-Pacific Shares Mostly Higher; Nikkei Pressured by Stronger Yen, Aussie Shares Close at 3-Month High

James Hyerczyk

The major Asia-Pacific shares finished mostly higher on Tuesday, following Wall Street higher. The U.S. benchmark S&P 500 Index erased earlier losses and entered positive territory for the year. The rally was primarily driven by the lifting of coronavirus lockdowns in many countries that fed investor hopes of a relatively quick global economic recovery. Shares in Japan finished lower while Australian equities soared over two-percent.

On Tuesday, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index settled at 23091.03, down 87.07 or -0.38%. South Korea’s KOSPI Index finished at 2188.92, up 4.63 or +0.21% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index closed at 25233.85, up 457.08 or +1.84%.

China’s Shanghai Index settled at 2956.11, up 18.34 or +0.62% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 finished at 6144.90, up 146.20 or +2.44%.

Firmer Japanese Yen Weighs on Nikkei 225 Index

Japanese shares ended lower on Tuesday, slipping from a three-and-a-half-month high hit in the previous session, as a firmer Yen weighed on the market, with automakers and chip-related companies leading the decline.

Highly cyclical iron and steel, sea transport and non-ferrous metals were the worst three performing sectors on the main bourse.

As a firmer yen hurts Japanese manufacturers’ profits made abroad when repatriated, shares of export-oriented automakers came under pressure, with Nissan Motor tumbling 4.8% and Mazda Motor falling 3.1%.

Australia Shares Finish at 3-Month High on Swift Economic Turnaround Hopes

Australian shares on Tuesday settled at their highest in three months, with financials leading the gains, as hopes of a speedy economic rebound from the coronavirus-triggered slump bolstered risk appetite.

A measure of Australian business conditions showed that activity and confidence last month bounced back from lows in April as virus-induced curbs are rolled back and the economy restarts, though the survey’s stayed in recessionary territory overall.

Heavyweight financials led gains on the benchmark, rising 4.8% with top lenders Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Westpac Banking Corp. leading the charge.

The banks are relieved that the economy is not doing as badly as initially feared and that investors are hunting for bargains while they still trade at lows, said Henry Jennings, senior analyst at Marcustoday, Reuters reported.

Other News

In corporate news out of Hong Kong, the South China Morning Post reported Tuesday that the Hong Kong government will bail Cathay Pacific out with 30 billion Hong Kong dollars ($3.87 billion) in loans and a direct stake. Trading of the Cathay Pacific’s shares in Hong Kong were earlier halted on Tuesday.

Shares of Samsung Group companies in South Korea were mixed on Tuesday afternoon as they shed earlier gains. Investors reacted to the news that a court in Seoul rejected an arrest warrant on the conglomerate’s de facto leader, Lee Jae-yong, according to local news agency Yonhap.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

This article was originally posted on FX Empire

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