Asian Shares Mixed After U.K. Cabinet Backs Brexit Deal

Asian stocks ended mixed on Thursday as U.S. stocks fell for a fifth day overnight and oil declined once again after rising on Wednesday.

Beijing’s pledge of support for the economy and news that European Union leaders will meet on November 25th to endorse the divorce deal with Britain helped regional stock finish off their day’s lows.

Chinese shares closed sharply higher on hopes for possible government action to boost growth. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index rallied 35.93 points or 1.4 percent to close at 2,668.17, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index surged up 448.91 points or 1.8 percent to 26,103.34.

Meanwhile, Japanese shares edged lower, dragged down by financials and Apple suppliers. The Nikkei 225 Index dipped 42.86 points or 0.2 percent to 21,803.62, and the broader Topix Index edged down 0.1 percent to 1,638.97.

Heavyweight SoftBank lost 2.7 percent and Fanuc declined 1.9 percent. Apple supplier TDK Corp tumbled 3.1 percent and Taiyo Yuden plunged 4.8 percent after Apple shares fell for a fifth day on concerns about iPhone demand. Exporters Canon, Panasonic and Sony fell around 1 percent.

Banks fell on apprehensions over the earnings outlook after a U.S. Democratic lawmaker vowed to halt easing of banking regulations. Both Mitsubishi Financial UFJ and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group ended down over 3 percent.

Australian markets fluctuated before ending marginally higher as data showed the country’s labor market experienced stronger than expected employment growth in October.

The Australian economy added 32,800 jobs last month, beating forecasts for 20,000 jobs following the addition of 7,800 jobs in the previous month. The unemployment rate came in at a seasonally adjusted 5.0 percent, unchanged from the September reading.

The big four banks as well as mining heavyweights BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto finished flat to slightly lower. Gold miners Evolution and Newcrest climbed 2-3 percent as gold prices held steady on dollar weakness.

Grain handler Graincorp dropped 1.4 percent after posting a big drop in full-year profits. Wesfarmers fell 1.7 percent ahead of a crucial shareholder vote on the demerger of Coles later in the day.

New Zealand shares finished little changed with a negative bias. Vector fell 3 percent to hit its lowest level since late August, while Freightways jumped 3.2 percent.

South Korea’s Kospi rose 1 percent to 2,088.06 on institutional buying. India’s Sensex was rising 0.6 percent on easing concerns about inflation as oil prices resumed declines after closing about 1 percent higher on Wednesday to snap twelve successive days of declines.

Overnight, U.S. stocks fluctuated before closing lower as Apple extended its recent declines and Congresswoman Maxine Waters, D-Calif., who is expected to take over the powerful House Financial Services Committee in the next Congress, suggested she would halt President Donald Trump’s efforts to roll back banking regulations.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.8 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite shed 0.9 percent, while the S&P 500 fell 0.8 percent to end lower for the fifth consecutive session.

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