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Asia-Pacific markets mixed; Evergrande shares drop around 4%

SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia-Pacific were mixed in Friday trade, with shares of China Evergrande Group continuing to take a beating.

As of afternoon trade in Hong Kong, shares of China Evergrande Group were 3.8% lower as fears over its debt problems continue to weigh on investor sentiment. Evergrande shares had plummeted more than 11% earlier.

The benchmark Hang Seng index in Hong Kong rose about 0.5% as of its final hour of trading as stocks tried to rebound from heavy losses seen earlier in the week. As of Thursday’s close, the index had dropped nearly 6% for the week amid regulatory concerns surrounding sectors such as technology and casinos.

Mainland Chinese stocks closed higher, with the Shanghai composite up 0.19% to 3,613.97 while the Shenzhen component advanced 0.71% to 14,359.36.

Elsewhere, the Nikkei 225 in Japan climbed 0.58% to finish the trading day at 30,500.05 while the Topix index gained 0.48% to 2,100.17. South Korea’s Kospi closed 0.33% higher at 3,140.51.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.76% to close at 7,403.70.

Shares of Australian miners dropped following a recent decline in iron ore prices: Rio Tinto declined 4.7% and BHP shed 3.67% while Fortescue Metals Group plunged 11.48%.

“Iron ore prices tumbled below $US110/t (62% Fe, CFR China) yesterday,” Vivek Dhar, commodities analyst at Commonwealth Bank of Australia, wrote in a Friday note.

“The fall in prices is primarily linked to China’s steel output cuts. China is looking to cap China’s crude steel output in 2021 at 2020 levels to reduce emissions,” Dhar said.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.16%.

Overnight stateside, the Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 63.07 points to 34,751.32 while the S&P 500 dipped around 0.16% to 4,473.75. The Nasdaq Composite advanced 0.13% to 15,181.92.

The moves on Wall Street came after the Census Bureau reported Thursday that August’s retail sales increased 0.7% for the month against the Dow Jones estimate of a decline of 0.8%. The initial estimate for July, however, was revised down to a decline of nearly 2% from a month-over-month gain of 0.5%.

Meanwhile, the latest unemployment insurance weekly data showed 332,000 first-time jobless claims last week, higher than the Dow Jones estimate of 320,000.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers was at 92.783 following a recent jump from below 92.6.

The Japanese yen traded at 109.84 per dollar, stronger than levels above 110 seen against the greenback earlier this week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7316, against an earlier low of $0.7279.

Oil prices were lower in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures falling 0.4% to $75.37 per barrel. U.S. crude futures shed 0.51% to $72.24 per barrel.

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