Asian markets mixed as PBoC leaves benchmark lending rate unchanged

Asian markets were mixed in early trading Wednesday, following losses on Wall Street and as the world braces for a long economic recovery.

Japan’s Nikkei JP:NIK rose 0.7% while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index HK:HSI slipped 0.2%. The Shanghai Composite CN:SHCOMP retreated 0.3% while the smaller-cap Shenzhen Composite CN:399106 inched down 0.3%. South Korea’s Kospi KR:180721 gained 0.2% and benchmark indexes in Taiwan TW:Y9999 , Singapore SG:STI , Malaysia MY:FBMKLCI and Indonesia ID:JAKIDX were mixed. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 AU:XJO was about flat.

Earlier Wednesday, the People’s Bank of China left its benchmark lending rate unchanged, as expected, and Japan’s machinery orders showed a strong rebound from the previous month.

“Asian stocks look content to trade in a modestly negative range today, as traders book profits after the recent strong rally, awaiting further direction from Europe and the United States,” said Jeffrey Halley, senior Asia-Pacific market analyst for Oanda, in a note.

In Tokyo, shares of Sony Financial Holdings JP:8729 skyrocketed after Sony Corp. JP:6758 said it would absorb the unit through a $3.7 billion tender bid. Sony already owns about 65% of the financial business. In Hong Kong, Lenovo shares HK:992 surged after the PC maker reported a sharp drop in quarterly profit, but pointed to an expected rise long-term demand for computers and data centers as more people work and attend classes online.

On Tuesday, the Centre for Risk Studies at the University of Cambridge’s Judge Business School predicted that the global economy would lose as much as $82 trillion over the next five years. The report said the mid-range forecast calls for $26.8 trillion, or 5.3% of five-year GDP, to be lost.

Stocks fell on Wall Street on Tuesday, after a report cast doubt on Moderna’s US:MRNA coronavirus vaccine candidate. The Dow Jones Industrial Average US:DJIA fell 390.51 points, or 1.6%, to end at 24,206.86, near a session low, while the S&P 500 index US:SPX shed 30.97 points, or 1.1%, to finish at 2,922.94. The Nasdaq Composite Index US:COMP declined 49.72 points, or 0.5%, to close at 9,185.10.

West Texas Intermediate crude US:CLN20 was down slightly, while Brent crude, the global benchmark UK:BRNN20 , ticked up.

The dollar US:USDJPY rose slightly to 107.72 yen