Asia report: Markets finish mixed as risk sentiment fades
(ShareCast News) - Markets in Asia finished on a mixed note on Wednesday, as the Korea-related risk sentiment seen in the last fortnight seemed to disappear.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 was up 0.45% at 19,865.82, as the yen strengthened 0.17% on the dollar, last trading at JPY 109.98.
Major exporters were the winners of the session, with banks, carmakers and most technology firms finishing the day in the green.
It was a case of another day, another statement from Toshiba as its seemingly never-ending talks to offload its memory chip unit continued.
The technology conglomerate said it would be hastening discussions with a consortium led by Bain Capital, after a memorandum was signed earlier in the day.
That did little to placate ever-patient investors, however, with the company's stock finishing little changed in Tokyo.
On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite was up 0.18% at 3,385.54, and the smaller, technology-heavy Shenzhen Composite added 0.44% to 1,994.98.
South Korea's Kospi lost 0.22% to 2,360.18, while the Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong was 0.28% lower at 27,894.08.
In Seoul, Apple suppliers were higher with SK Hynix up 1.34%, while Samsung Electronics - which both supplies and heavily competes with Apple - eked out gains of 0.04%.
The risk sentiment seen amid major geopolitical tension last week had largely vanished by Wednesday, market watchers noted.
"Financial markets seem to have abruptly stopped worrying about the end of the world," noted ING Asia head of research Rob Carnell.
Carnell said it wouldn't last, adding that: "until the next risk-off event appears, we might as well enjoy it and can focus back on the underlying macro story."
Suppliers to Apple were in focus across the region, after the California-based technology giant took the wraps off its latest toy - the iPhone X, with an eye-watering price tag of $999.
Oil prices were lower during Asian trading, but soon turned higher as European traders arrived at work, with Brent crude last up 0.62% at $54.61 per barrel and West Texas Intermediate adding 0.8% to $48.62.
In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 finished off 0.04% at 5,744.26, with minor gains in the hefty financials subindex and materials being offset by losses from the telecommunications services sector.
New Zealand's S&P/NZX 50 was down 0.2% to 7,827.43, as the country entered the last ten days before its general election, with the incumbent right-wing National party and the leftist Labour camp seemingly swapping positions in each new poll.
Both of the down under dollars were stronger on the greenback, with the Aussie last ahead 0.26% at AUD 1.2438 and the Kiwi strengthening 0.03% to NZD 1.3718.