China Losses Weigh on Asia

Asia-Pacific markets mostly fell on Thursday as Wall Street saw gains despite a red-hot inflation report that set market expectations for rate hikes. Meanwhile, COVID worries also came into focus as the World Health Organization warned that omicron cases are "off the charts."

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 retreated 276.53 points, or 1%, to 28,489.13.

Major retailers lost ground, as Seven & I fell 3.3%, and Fast Retailing lost nearly 2%.

The Japanese yen traded at 114.56 per dollar, as it strengthened from levels above 115 in the previous sessions.

The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong gained 27.6 points, or 0.1%, to 24,429.77

Shares of Chinese property developer Sunac tumbled over 22% after it said in a filing that it plans to sell 452 million new shares to controlling shareholder Sunac International Investment Holdings at 10 Hong Kong dollars per share.

That will raise 4.52 billion Hong Kong dollars ($580 million U.S.), with the firm saying that 50% of the proceeds from the sale will go towards repaying loans, while the other half will be for other corporate purposes.

Genting Hong Kong shares also dived about 57% after the company announced that it may not be able to pay its debts and other obligations.
In earnings, Taiwan’s TSMC reported its fourth-quarter results, posting a record of a 16.4% rise in quarterly profit, according to Reuters. Net profit for the quarter rose to 166.2 billion Taiwan dollars ($6 billion) from 142.8 billion Taiwan dollars a year earlier.

Investors will also keep an eye on COVID developments, as the World Health Organization reported a record 15 million new COVID-19 cases globally for a single week, as omicron rapidly replaces delta as the dominant variant across the globe.

In Australia, financials and major miners saw gains. Rio Tinto jumped 4.1%, while BHP was up 3.8%.

The Australian dollar rose to $0.7284, after hitting its highest level since November overnight.

In other markets

In China, the CSI 300 dropped 79.66 points, or 1.6%, to 4,765.92.

In Korea, the Kospi index slipped 10.39 points, or 0.4%, to 2,962.09.

In Taiwan, the Taiex index moved upward 61.53 points, or 0.3%, to 18,436.93

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index moved higher 8.61 points, or 0.3%, to 3,254.98.

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 recovered 22.51 points, or 0.2%, to 12,826.99.

In Australia, the ASX 200 added 35.45 points, or 0.5%, at 7,474.36