Asian shares mostly rise, but Hang Seng drops over 2% as Alibaba tumbles on reports of headquarter shift

BANGKOK (AP) — Shares were trading mixed in Asia on Monday after Wall Street benchmarks closed higher on Friday, capping a third week of gains out of the last four.

Tokyo and Shanghai rose while Hong Kong, Seoul and Sydney fell. Taiwan’s benchmark jumped 3.8%.

Attention was turning to Wednesday’s decision by the Federal Reserve on interest rates. A report Friday showed that U.S. inflation is continuing to cool, raising hopes for a smaller increase that’s less painful than last year’s aggressive hikes. The measure the Fed prefers, which doesn’t count food and energy costs, was 4.4% higher in December than a year earlier. That was down from 4.7% inflation in November.

Reports that holiday travel during last week’s Lunar New Year festivities was nearly back to normal raised expectations that China’s economy may regain momentum faster than anticipated after it relaxed pandemic restrictions late last year.

In the first trading session after a weeklong break, the Shanghai Composite index
gained 0.1% to 3,269.32. However, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng
lost 2.8% on heavy selling of technology shares. E-commerce giant Alibaba

sank 7.1% following reports it is building a facility in Singapore that some speculated could become its global headquarters.

The Hong Kong newspaper South China Morning Post reported that the company had denied it was planning such a change, saying the new campus in Singapore will house regional operations with partners like Lazada. Alibab a is headquartered in the east Chinese city of Hangzhou.

Taiwan’s benchmark was lifted by gains in TSMC
the world’s biggest maker of computer chips, which jumped 8%.

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225
rose 0.1% to 27,433.40. South Korea’s Kospi
lost 1.3% to 2,450.65 and the S&P/ASX 200
in Sydney shed 0.2% to 7,481.70. India’s Sensex
was unchanged and Bangkok’s SET
edged less than 0.1% lower.

Shares in some companies in the Adani Group recovered some lost ground after recent massive losses after U.S. short-selling firm Hindenburg Research published a report alleging major problems within India’s second-largest conglomerate, which has holdings in energy, data transmission, construction and other major industries.
Its flagship, Adani Enterprises
gained 5.4% and the Adani Ports & Special Economic Zone Ltd.
added 2.1%. But shares in other Adani listed companies fell between 5% to 20%.

The Adani Group said it was considering legal action against Hindenburg following its allegations of stock market manipulation and accounting fraud.

Read: Adani shares mixed after 413-page response to Hindenburg

On Friday, the S&P 500
rose 0.2% to 4,070.56. It’s rallied through January on growing belief inflation is on a steady downswing, hopefully relieving pressure on the economy and markets.

The Dow
inched 0.1% higher, to 33,978.08, and the Nasdaq
gained 0.9% to 11,621.71.

So far, the jobs market has remained remarkably resilient despite a slowing overall economy. Almost all of the high-profile layoff announcements have been within the tech industry, which raced to expand after the pandemic sent demand for technology soaring.

Mixed earnings results have driven some big swings in markets.

Reports Friday also showed that income growth for Americans slowed in December, while consumer spending fell a bit more sharply than expected.

Economists said Friday’s data likely keeps the Fed on track to raise its key benchmark rate by 0.25 percentage points on Wednesday, a step down from its increase of 0.50 points last month and four straight hikes of 0.75 points before that.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury
which sets rates for mortgages and other important loans, held steady at 3.50% on Monday. The two-year yield, which moves more on expectations for Fed actions, held at 4.19%.

In other trading Monday, U.S. benchmark crude
lost 63 cents to $79.20 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It lost $1.33 to $79.68 per barrel on Friday.

Brent crude
the international pricing benchmark, gave up 40 cents to $86.00 per barrel.

The dollar
slipped to 129.54 Japanese yen from 129.80 yen. The euro
rose to $1.0866 from $1.0865.