Asian markets mixed ahead of U.S. midterm elections

Asian markets mixed ahead of U.S. midterm elections

Nikkei rises despite SoftBank’s fall; stocks in China and Hong Kong slip

Asian stock markets were mixed Tuesday, as investors awaited the U.S. midterm elections and the implications for regulation, tax changes and President Donald Trump’s congressional support.

If the polls are correct, President Trump and Republicans are in big trouble. There’s an 85% chance Democrats will seize control of the House of Representatives from Republicans, according to statistical analysis firm FiveThirtyEight. Polls give the GOP the slight edge in the Senate.

Japan’s Nikkei NIK, +1.14% rose about 1.1% after Monday’s pullback, with drug and consumer-goods makers strong; Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma 4506, +7.02% was up 7%. Meanwhile, SoftBank 9984, -1.97% gave up early gains and sank more than 2% despite posting strong second-quarter results after the bell Monday. Also, while denouncing the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, SoftBank Chief Executive Masayoshi Son said his company’s massive investment fund will continue to do business with Saudi Arabia.

Chinese stocks fell, with the Shenzhen Composite 399106, -0.36% , where many smaller-cap firms are listed, dropping less than 0.4%. The Shanghai Composite SHCOMP, -0.23% , meanwhile, declined 0.2%, off the worst levels, after snapping a four-day winning streak with Monday’s decline. One bright spot was the so-called technology-innovation sector, following word of tax breaks. Zhangjiang Hi-tech Park 600895, +10.01% and Luxin Venture Capital 600783, +10.02% were again up the 10% daily limit.

Hong Kong stocks dropped slightly initially though the Hang Seng Index HSI, +0.72% finished up 0.7%. Tencent 0700, -0.14% slipped 0.1%, off deeper early lows, after Monday’s 3.7% retreat. Mainland property developers, meanwhile, reversed a bit of Monday’s swoon, rising some 1%.

South Korea’s Kospi SEU, +0.61% was up 0.6%, though Samsung 005930, -0.11% slipped. Taiwan’s Taiex Y9999, -0.66% fell nearly 1% as Apple Inc. AAPL, -0.44% supplier Largan Precision 3008, -6.26% tumbled 6%. Markets in Singapore and Malaysia were closed for a holiday.

Down Under, Australia’s ASX 200 XJO, +0.98% was up nearly 1%, led by the energy and materials sectors.

The Reserve Bank of Australia left interest rates unchanged at its policy meeting on Tuesday, signaling it continues to wait for signs of a lift in wages and inflation. The RBA’s board left the cash rate target at 1.5%, a level it has remained at for more than two years.

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