Asia-Pacific Markets Mostly Lower; Technology Stocks Largely Slip as Nasdaq Turns Negative for 2021

Toru Hanai | Bloomberg via Getty Images
  • Chinese Premier Li Keqiang announced Friday the world's second-largest economy would target growth of over 6% for 2021.
  • U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said Thursday that the economic reopening could "create some upward pressure on prices."
  • Technology stocks in Asia were mixed in Friday trade after the Nasdaq Composite fell more than 2% overnight on Wall Street and turned negative on the year.

SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia-Pacific were mostly lower Friday as investors watched bond yields as well as technology stocks in the region.

Mainland Chinese stocks closed mixed. The Shanghai composite declined fractionally to 3,501.99 and the Shenzhen component dipped slightly to 14,412.31, while the Shenzhen composite gained 0.171% to 2,298.60. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang announced the world's second-largest economy would target growth of over 6% for 2021.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index closed 0.47% lower at 29,098.29.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 slipped 0.23% to close at 28,864.32 while the Topix index finished its trading day 0.61% higher at 1,896.18. South Korea's Kospi fell 0.57% to close at 3,026.26.

Meanwhile, stocks in Australia also declined on the day, with the S&P/ASX 200 down 0.74% to 6,710.80.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares shed 0.89%.

Powell comments

On Thursday, U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said the economic reopening could "create some upward pressure on prices." He said he expects the central bank to be "patient" in terms of acting on policy, even if the economy sees "transitory increases in inflation."

Powell noted, however, that the recent rise in yields did catch his attention, as have improving economic conditions.

Bond yields rose again following Powell's comments, though they later eased in the afternoon of Asia trading hours. The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury yield last stood at 1.5365%, following an earlier high of 1.583%.

Bond yields in Asia-Pacific were also lower, the yield on the Australian 10-year bond slipped to 1.806%. The 10-year Japanese government bond's yield declined to 0.082%.

Tech stocks mixed

Technology stocks in Asia were mostly lower on Friday.

Hong Kong-listed shares of Chinese tech firms slipped: Tencent shed 1.59% while Xiaomi fell 3.74% and Meituan declined 0.88%.

Shares of Japanese conglomerate SoftBank Group were fractionally higher while South Korean chipmaker SK Hynix declined 1.41%.

Those moves came after the Nasdaq Composite fell 2.11% to 12,723.47 on Thursday — turning negative for 2021.

The S&P 500 closed 1.34% lower at 3,768.47 while the Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 345.95 points to finish its trading day at 30,924.14.

Oil prices jump

Oil prices were higher in the afternoon of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up 1.41% to $67.68 per barrel. U.S. crude futures rose 1.19% to $64.59 per barrel.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 91.851 following a rise from levels below 91 seen earlier this week.

The Japanese yen traded at 108.36 per dollar, weaker than levels below 107.4 against the greenback seen yesterday. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7681, off levels around $0.783 seen earlier in the week.

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