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Asian Equities Close Mixed as Geopolitical Worries Resurface

By Investors Hub

Asian stocks turned in a mixed performance on Wednesday as geopolitical worries resurfaced in the Middle East and commodity prices weakened after the release of Chinese trade data.

Media reports suggesting that U.S. Senate Republicans are considering delaying the implementation of a corporate tax cut by a year also weighed on the markets.

The dollar fell against the yen, while oil prices dipped after data showed Chinese crude imports fell to their lowest level in a year.

Chinese shares gave up earlier gains to end roughly flat as traders digested mixed trade data. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index finished marginally higher at 3,414.91. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell 86.74 points or 0.3 percent to 28,907.60.

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Government data showed that Chinese exports climbed an annual 6.9 percent in dollar terms in October, slightly below economists’ forecast for an increase of 7.1 percent. Imports surged up 17.2 percent from a year ago to beat estimates, leaving a trade surplus of $38.2 billion for the month.

Japanese shares finished on a mixed note as escalating tensions between OPEC members Saudi Arabia and Iran helped spur demand for yen. The Nikkei 225 Index slipped 23.78 points or 0.1 percent to end at 22,913.82, while the broader Topix Index rose 0.2 percent to 1,817.60, a nearly 11-year high.

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Exporters closed mostly higher, with Canon, Toyota Motor, Panasonic and Sony rising 2-3 percent. Falling bond yields kept banks and insurers under selling pressure. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial declined 0.9 percent and T&D Holdings ended down over 2 percent.

Australian shares erased early losses to finish marginally higher after the release of strong quarterly earnings from Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index closed nearly unchanged at 6,016.27 after rising as much as 1 percent the previous day to reached a nearly 10-year high. The broader All Ordinaries Index also finished flat at 6,089.10.

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Commonwealth Bank of Australia rallied 2.7 percent after the lender posted solid first-quarter results, helped by increased home lending and lower bad debt charges.

Miners Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton, South32 and Fortescue Metals Group dropped 1-3 percent after base metals prices fell sharply on Tuesday.

Energy stocks such as Origin Energy, Woodside Petroleum and Beach Energy lost 1-2 percent on profit taking after recent gains.

Ardent Leisure shed 2.1 percent as its chief executive Simon Kelly resigned after only six months on the job. Building materials supplier James Hardie Industries fell 1.5 percent after an acquisition announcement.

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Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan.

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