Asian Shares Mixed Amid Ukraine Worries

Asian stocks ended mixed on Wednesday amid signs the Ukraine-Russia situation will not be de-escalating anytime soon.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said peace talks with Ukraine are “at a dead end” and Russia would triumph in all of its “noble” war aims in Ukraine.

U.S. President Joe Biden has called Russia’s invasion of Ukraine a “genocide,” a term his administration has been avoiding.

Chinese shares fell notably despite the easing of a lockdown in Shanghai and the release of strong exports data. China’s exports rose an annual 15.7 percent in March, while imports came in flat amid disruptions due to coronavirus outbreaks, data showed earlier today.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index dropped 0.8 percent to 3,186.82, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index finished 0.3 percent higher at 21,374.37.

Japanese shares rose the most in more than three weeks after core U.S. inflation data came in lower than expected. The Nikkei 225 Index surged 1.9 percent to 26,843.49 – marking the biggest jump since March 22.

Uniqlo clothing shop owner Fast Retailing jumped 2.9 percent, chipmaking equipment maker Tokyo Electron rallied 3.3 percent and air-conditioning maker Daikin Industries surged 4 percent.

Lawson soared 11.6 percent on reports the convenience store chain was planning an initial public offering for Seijo Ishii.

Investors shrugged off data showing that Japan’s core machinery orders fell for a second straight month in February.

Australian markets eked out modest gains as rising commodity prices on the back of easing lockdowns in China helped lift mining and energy stocks. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 0.3 percent to 7,479.

EML Payments surged 10.5 percent after the payment solutions provider said it had discussed a potential takeover by U.S. private equity firm Bain Capital earlier this year.

Travel firms Webjet and Flight Centre gained 2.5 percent and 2.3 percent, respectively, as New Zealand opened its borders to vaccinated travelers from Australia.

Seoul stocks rallied to snap a two-day losing streak as inflation woes eased and China lifted some of its virus restrictions in Shanghai. The Kospi jumped 1.9 percent to close at 2,716.49.

Battery maker LG Energy Solution soared 4.9 percent, while SK Hynix and Samsung Electronics rose 1.8 percent and 2.5 percent, respectively.

New Zealand shares fell slightly after the country’s central bank raised interest rates by a hefty 50 basis points to tame inflation. The hike from 1 percent to 1.5 percent was the biggest percentage increase by the Reserve Bank in 22 years. The benchmark NZX-50 Index ended 0.1 percent lower at 11,875.

U.S. stocks reversed early gains to end lower for a second straight session on Tuesday, as fresh data showed inflation accelerated to a new 40-year high in March, though some components of core inflation weakened.

All three major averages slipped around 0.3 percent, while two- and 10-year Treasury yields had their biggest declines in weeks amid speculation that the inflation surge that started in early 2021 is close to a peak.

U.S. consumer inflation rose 8.5 percent in March from a year ago, marking the fastest growth since December 1981.

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