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Asian Stocks Mixed, Trades Thin as Many Markets Remain Closed

By Gina Lee – Asia Pacific stocks were mixed on Monday morning, with trade razor thin on the first trading day of 2022 for some markets.

South Korea’s KOSPI was up 0.37% by 9:58 PM ET (2:58 AM GMT). Data released earlier in the day showed that the Nikkei manufacturing purchasing managers index (PMI) for December was 51.9, higher than the previous month’s 50.9.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was down 0.28%, while Chinese, Australian, and Japanese markets were closed for a holiday. There will be no cash trading of U.S. Treasuries in Asia on Monday.

Trader “sentiments may attempt to ride on the Santa Claus rally to deliver a positive start for the first trading day in 2022,” said Jun Rong Yeap, market strategist at IG Asia.

“While the rising omicron COVID spreads may warrant a cautious approach toward reopening, some expectations may be that improved vaccinations will aid to limit the eventual economic impact.”

Omicron-fueled outbreaks continue in countries from China to the U.S., with the global number of cases topping 290 million as of Jan. 3, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

Investors’ focus was on China Evergrande Group (HK:3333), whose Hong Kong shares were suspended from trading earlier in the day. The debt-ridden property developer did not provide a reason for the suspension.

However, fellow Chinese property developer Cifi Holdings has offered to buy China Evergrande’s outstanding 5.5% bond due in 2022. The offer was $1,000.5 for each $1,000 in principal amount plus accrued and unpaid interest, according to Cifi Holdings’ statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange. The offer to buy the $505.1 million of notes that remain outstanding expiring at 4pm London time on Jan. 7.

Investors also await China’s Caixin manufacturing and service PMIs, due later in the week.


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