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Asian Equities Succumb to Selling Pressure

By Investors Hub

Asian stocks ended mostly lower on Thursday after upbeat U.S. economic data drove 10-year U.S. Treasury yields to their highest level since 2011, raising concerns the Federal Reserve may raise interest rates aggressively.

The Chinese markets remain closed all week for the National Day holiday. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index plunged 467.39 points or 1.7 percent to 26,623.87 on fears about an extended series of interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve.

Japanese shares closed lower after rising earlier in the day on the back of a weak yen and a record close on Wall Street overnight. The Nikkei 225 Index dropped 135.34 points or 0.6 percent to 23,975.62, while the broader Topix Index closed marginally lower at 1,801.19.

A surge in U.S. Treasury yields helped lift banks, with Mitsubishi UFJ Financial and Sumitomo Mitsui climbing around 3 percent. SoftBank Group rose 1.3 percent after announcing a joint venture with Toyota to create mobility services.

Meanwhile, cosmetics giant Shiseido Co. lost 4.7 percent on reports of increasing customs checks in China on citizens returning from overseas trips.

Australian shares ended higher, led by financials and resource stocks. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 30.20 points or 0.5 percent to 6,176.30, while the broader All Ordinaries Index ended up 28.70 points or 0.5 percent at 6,293.90.

BHP Billiton climbed 1 percent and Rio Tinto advanced 0.6 percent as metal prices firmed up. South32 soared 7.3 percent as aluminum prices hit five-week highs on news that Norsk Hydro is halting output at its Alunorte alumina refinery in Brazil.

Alumina jumped nearly 15 percent to hit its highest level in 10 years before finishing higher by 10.8 percent.

The big four banks rose between 0.2 percent and 0.9 percent to snap a three-session losing streak. Magellan Financial Group jumped 7.8 percent after the fund manager announced a role-swap for its chairman and chief executive.

Bank of Queensland rallied 2.2 percent despite the lender reporting a 2 percent drop in full-year cash profits. Woodside Petroleum, Santos and Oil Search rose around 1 percent each as oil prices held near four-year highs.

On the data front, Australia’s trade surplus increased in August on higher exports, data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed. The trade surplus rose to a seasonally adjusted A$1.6 billion from A$1.55 billion in July. Economists had forecast a decrease in the surplus to A$1.45 billion.

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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