Asian equities were moving in different directions on Thursday. The Hong Kong stock exchange trading resumed, and the Hang Seng Index immediately showed an increase of 2.02%. The Korean KOSPI also increased by 1.61%. At the same time, the Japanese Nikkei 225 was down 0.32%. The Chinese bourses are still down, also the Australian Stock Exchange was closed due to a holiday.
There are a few factors that are causing some mixed feelings among investors. Financial reports from technology companies are not encouraging. For example, Microsoft reported a decline in profits in the last quarter of last year. On the other hand, the markets retain some positive sentiment. Therefore, it is not clear yet who will win in this confrontation.
The Hong Kong indicator was helped by an increase in Xiaomi which rose 10.3%, Sunny Optical Technology Group which gained 6.8%, BYD and Geely which gained 6.5% and 5.3%, respectively, Longfor Group Holdings which gained 6% and Lenovo which gained 4.5%.
Slightly smaller gains were shown by Netease, which rose by 2%, JD.com, which increased by 1.5%, as well as Alibaba, which gained 0.3%.
According to the latest macro data from South Korea, real gross domestic product fell by 0.4% in the final quarter of 2022 compared with the previous quarter. This was the first time in nearly three years. This decline was attributed to a decline in consumption to normal levels after the surge in the coronavirus pandemic. The indicator turned out to be worse than experts' forecasts, who predicted its decrease by 0.3%.
Nevertheless, the economy grew 2.6% for the full year of 2022. Also, the figure for the fourth quarter was 1.4% better than during the same period in 2021, although it fell short of analysts' estimates of 1.5%.
The increase in the Korean index contributed to the increase in the value of Posco shares, which added 3.3%, as well as Samsung Electronics, which gained 0.6%.
Hyundai Motor gained 4.3% as it more than doubled its operating profit in the last quarter of 2022 on a 24% revenue climb driven by higher electric vehicle sales.
At the same time, the decline in the Japanese indicator was impacted by declines in shares of Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (down 4.2%), Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (down 3%) as well as Advantest and Tokyo Electron (down 2.5% and 1.9% respectively). Slightly smaller fall was demonstrated by Sony stock, which fell by 1.4% and Toyota Motor, which shed 0.7%.
Shares of some other companies grew: securities of Nissan Motor and Nintendo added 1.1% and 1.2% respectively, while Softbank Group gained 0.2%.