Hong Kong shares started the week lower, giving up most of its Friday gains as investor sentiment continued to be weighed by the extent of the coronavirus pandemic. The benchmark Hang Seng Index slid 4.9% to settle at 21696.13, the lowest closing since late All index constituents fell, with exporters leading losses.
Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average, however, ended 2.0% higher at 16887.78, led by gains in SoftBank Group and pharmaceutical stocks, as recent selloffs over the coronavirus pandemic eased somewhat. SoftBank Group jumped 19% to the limit high of Y3,187 after the company said it would sell Y4.5 trillion worth of assets and spend up to Y2 trillion of the funds raised on share buybacks.
South Korean stocks retreated on renewed concerns over the coronavirus pandemic, erasing most of the prior session’s gains. The benchmark Kospi closed 5.3% lower at 1482.46. Auto, tech and shipbuilding stocks led the falls.
Indian shares ended sharply lower, as the market suffered its largest ever loss. The benchmark Sensex dropped 13% to settle at 25981.24, its lowest closing level since early 2016 amid fears over the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. All index constituents declined, with financial stocks leading losses.