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Asian markets end mixed
Feb 23 2021 2:44PM
Asian stocks ended mixed on Tuesday as prospects of more U.S. fiscal stimulus offset lingering concerns over an uptick in bond yields and worries over higher inflation affecting valuations.

Investors watched closely for any changes to the U.S. Federal Reserve's dovish outlook from Chairman Jerome Powell when he speaks before the Senate Banking Committee later in the day.

Japanese markets were closed on account of Emperor's Birthday. Chinese stocks ended a tad lower as policy tightening worries persisted.

China's Shanghai Composite index slipped 6.09 points, or 0.17 percent, to 3,636.36 while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index rose 312.81 points, or 1.03 percent, to 30,632.64 on optimism about economic recovery.

China's central bank said it would prioritize policy stability and avoid making sudden shifts, while providing the support needed for a continued economic recovery in 2021.

Australian markets recovered from a weak start to end notably higher, led by mining and energy stocks.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index climbed 58.30 points, or 0.86 percent, to 6,839.20 amid reports that the country will ramp up its Covid-19 immunization drive with more shots to be rolled out from next week. The broader All Ordinaries index ended up 49.20 points, or 0.70 percent, at 7,110.80.

Tech stocks followed their U.S. peers lower, with buy-now-pay-later giant Afterpay falling as much as 7.2 percent.

Energy stocks such as Woodside Petroleum and Santos soared around 6 percent as oil surged toward $63 a barrel. Oil Search jumped 6.4 percent after reporting a surprise underlying profit.

Mining heavyweights BHP and Rio Tinto climbed 2-3 percent as copper prices breached the $9,000 mark for the first time since 2011 on indications of tight supply. Firmer bullion prices lifted gold miners, with Newcrest Mining rallying 4.4 percent.

Seoul stocks ended modestly lower amid inflation concerns. The Kospi average swung between gains and losses before ending the session down 9.66 points, or 0.31 percent, at 3,070.09. Tech and bio stocks paced the decliners.

In economic releases, a central bank survey showed that consumer confidence in South Korea improved in January, with a sentiment index score of 97.4 - up from 95.4 in December.

New Zealand shares fell for the fourth day running, with the benchmark NZX-50 index closing down 37.40 points, or 0.30 percent, at 12,388.84 after official data showed retail sales in the country excluding price moves fell 2.7 percent in the three months ended December.

(Source:RTT News)