Asian markets slip as Covid cases weigh

Asian markets slip as Covid cases weigh

Asian shares opened lower on Friday as rising coronavirus cases and the risks to pandemic recoveries weighed on sentiment.

The Nikkei Stock Average was 0.7% lower at 28075.72 as falls in chip-related stocks offset gains for auto and brokerage stocks. 

The broader market index Topix was up 0.1% at 1941.21. The pace of Covid-19 vaccinations and infection trends were being closely watched ahead of the corporate earnings season set to start next week.

South Korea’s Kospi was down 0.4% at 3271.92 in early trade, dragged by tech and retail stocks. Declines in U.S. tech stocks overnight were weighing on investor sentiment, Kiwoom Securities said. 

Worries about the resurgence of Covid-19 that threatens to slow the pace of economic recovery were also adding to the downbeat mood. Index heavyweight Samsung Electronics lost 0.9%. Asiana Airlines, which has resumed trading after two months of suspension, was 4.7% higher.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index opened 0.1% lower at 27972.56. Shares were expected to trade range-bound around the 28000 level, KGI Securities said. 

While China’s June economic data was better than expected, growth at major Chinese technology companies could slow thanks to regulatory risks, it added. 

Chinese stocks were lower in early trade, tracking broad declines among other Asian equities amid worries about a resurgence of Covid-19 cases in Asia. 

Consumer stocks were lower; Insurance stocks are also lower with Ping An Insurance down 1.3% and China Life Insurance dropping 1.4%. 

The Shanghai Composite Index was 0.2% lower at 3557.83, the Shenzhen Composite Index was down 0.4% at 2469.05 and the ChiNext Price Index–a measure for emerging industries and startups– declined 1.2% to 3495.02.

Damon Harrison
Market Analyst, IPG Group