Asian stocks turned in a mixed performance on Monday, with Chinese and Hong Kong shares rallying on hopes for more stimulus, while caution prevailed elsewhere across Asia on geopolitical concerns over Saudi Arabia, Italy and Brexit.
Chinese stocks surged for a second session. After last week’s coordinated pronouncements from three top Chinese financial regulators, Chinese President Xi Jinping vowed “unwavering” support for the country’s private sector.
In an open letter published in state media, he said that Beijing would continue to value and protect the country’s private business owners to ensure a “better tomorrow”.
China’s Shanghai Composite index jumped 4.09 percent to 2,654.88, extending a 2.6 percent rebound on Friday. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index climbed 2.32 percent to 26,153.15.
Japanese shares eked out modest gains on expectations that China will step up economic stimulus in the months ahead. The Nikkei average gained 82.74 points or 0.37 percent to end at 22,614.82 while the broader Topix index closed 0.15 percent higher at 1,695.31.
Equipment maker Yaskawa Electric Corp jumped 3.6 percent after Beijing pledged a more proactive fiscal policy to shore up growth. Inpex climbed 1.4 percent after crude oil prices rose on Friday. Kawasaki Heavy Industries lost 9.3 percent after the company cut its forecasts for the current fiscal year.
Australian markets fell notably, led down by banks and healthcare companies as political uncertainty rattled investors. Australia’s ruling Liberal Party was poised to lose a crucial by-election in Sydney that could rob the government of its one-seat parliamentary majority.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index dropped 34.60 points or 0.58 percent to 5,904.90 while the broader All Ordinaries index ended down 36.60 points or 0.61 percent at 6,006.20.
Healthcare giant CSL dropped 1.8 percent to extend recent losses, while Cochlear lost 2 percent and ResMed tumbled 3 percent. The big four banks fell between 0.7 percent and 1 percent, while investment bank Macquarie Group shed 1.6 percent.
Flight Centre plummeted 10 percent after issuing a disappointing outlook. Mining giant BHP Billiton inched up 0.2 percent and Rio Tinto advanced 1.1 percent after London copper prices rose for a second straight session.
Virgin Australia rallied 2.4 percent after it reported a nearly 10 percent increase in revenue for the three months to September 30.
Seoul stocks reversed early losses to finish higher as Chinese authorities pledged support for the economy and companies. The benchmark Kospi rose 5.45 points or 0.25 percent to 2,161.71.
U.S. stocks ended mixed on Friday, with upbeat earnings updates from the likes of Procter & Gamble, American Express and Honeywell as well as a rebound in Chinese equities helping limit the downside.
The Dow inched up 0.3 percent, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite dropped half a percent and the S&P 500 finished marginally lower.