Equities closed in a mixed state in Asia on Thursday, as the Chinese video games sector continued to slide in Hong Kong amid fresh regulatory fears.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 was up 0.52% at 27,728.12, as the yen weakened 0.08% against the dollar to last trade at JPY 109.57.
Robotics specialist Fanuc was up 0.38%, while among the benchmark’s other major components, Uniqlo owner Fast Retailing lost 0.71%, and technology giant SoftBank Group was off 0.82%.
The broader Topix index was ahead 0.39% by the end of trading in Tokyo, closing at 1,928.98.
On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite was down 0.31% at 3,466.55, and the smaller, technology-centric Shenzhen Composite lost 0.75% to 2,477.04.
South Korea’s Kospi slipped 0.13% to 3,276.13, while the Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong lost 0.84% to 26,206.69.
Video gaming-invested plays were in the red once again in the special administrative region, with Netease down 3.76% and Tencent off 3.9%.
It came as the Communist Party-affiliated Securities Times argued in an editorial piece that gaming companies should not receive certain tax relief that was designed to stimulate China’s software sector.
The industry had fallen earlier in the week after an online article, also from Chinese state media, described online video gaming as an “opium” for the youth, before deleting the piece several hours later.
Seoul’s blue-chip technology stocks were weaker as well, with Samsung Electronics down 0.96% and SK Hynix losing 0.83%.
“European markets had another positive session yesterday, the third one this week buoyed by the fact that while some of the recent economic data was slightly weaker than previous months, company earnings remain largely positive, and vaccination rates are broadly higher,” said CMC Markets chief market analyst Michael Hewson of the global situation earlier on Thursday.
“This helps to give a margin of safety that Asia markets simply don’t have as we head into the winter months, as concerns increase over rising Delta variant infection rates in the region.
“Against that backdrop, a mixed Asia session, and a negative US close, markets here in Europe look set for a mixed open.”
Oil prices were higher as the region went to bed, with Brent crude last up 0.74% at $70.90 per barrel, and West Texas Intermediate ahead 0.94% at $68.79.
In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 managed gains of 0.11% to 7,511.10, as fresh data out of Canberra showed the country reaching a record trade surplus of AUD 10.5bn in July.
That was slightly above expectations for a surplus of AUD 10.45bn pencilled in by economists polled by Reuters.
Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand’s S&P/NZX 50 lost 0.34% to 12,754.33 in a truncated session, after exchange operator NZX halted trading after noticing that participants were being disconnected at 1530 NZST (0430 BST).
“Participants remain disconnected. The market remains in the current status,” NZX said in a communication to market participants.
“NZX has determined not to re-open the cash markets today. This includes not running a closing auction.”
Stock prices were not finalised for the day as a result of the closing auction being cancelled, but before the halt, telecoms utility Spark was the leading loser, last trading down 1.7%.
Both of the down under dollars were stronger on the greenback, with the Aussie last ahead 0.39% at AUD 1.3498, and the Kiwi advancing 0.28% to NZD 1.4153.