Asian shares were lower on Monday, as investors grew wary over the recent surge in coronavirus cases in many places while vaccination efforts are making scant headway.
In early trading, Monday, the Nikkei 225 NIK, -0.77% in Tokyo lost 0.5% and South Korea’s Kospi 180721, +0.12% edged 0.1% higher. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index HSI, -0.86% dropped 1% and the Shanghai Composite index SHCOMP, -1.09% sank 0.8%. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 XJO, -0.30% gave up 0.5%. Stocks rose in Taiwan Y9999, +0.03% but fell in Singapore STI, -0.33%, and Indonesia JAKIDX, -2.00%.
Shares in South Korea’s SK Innovation Co. 096770, +11.97% jumped 14% after it reached a settlement in a trade dispute with rival LG Energy Solution. The companies pledged to work together to strengthen the EV battery supply chain in the U.S., moving ahead with plans to manufacture batteries in Georgia in what President Joe Biden called “a win for American workers and the American auto industry.”
Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba’s shares 9988, +6.51% were 6% higher after the company said it was fined $2.8 billion for anti-competitive behavior. The penalty was lower than feared, coming as the ruling Communist Party tightens control over fast-growing technology industries.
The declines in Asia followed a strong end last week on Wall Street, where gains in technology and health cares stocks pushed the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average to fresh record highs.
A moderation in bond yields has helped restore confidence that the Federal Reserve will move soon to raise interest rates to keep inflation in check as the economy recovers from the shocks of the pandemic.
But in Asia, a resurgence of infections is undermining confidence in that trajectory.