SEOUL, South Korea – Stock markets in Asia were mixed, even though Wall Street’s record-breaking numbers last week improved investor confidence. However, the Lotte Group of South Korea and pharmaceutical companies in China saw their shares spiking as the trading week commenced.
Shares in the Lotte Group’s listed companies went up after the death of company founder Shin Kyuk-ho was announced.
Stocks in Lotte Corp., the Lotte conglomerate’s holding business, were up by 20% today. It’s the company’s largest one-day trading volume since 2017. Shares in Lotte’s beverage and shopping divisions also edged higher today.
Investors are reportedly betting that an anticipated company restructuring will improve shareholder value. Shin’s son and Lotte Group chairman Shin Dong-bin had previously hinted that massive changes are on the horizon when revenue from the conglomerate’s retail and chemical businesses went down.
Before the Lotte founder passed away, his son apparently informed the company’s senior executives that he will shut down businesses that don’t generate profits.
Stocks in Chinese pharmaceutical companies also shot up on Monday after the country reported more than 100 new coronavirus cases.
The ChiNext Price Index, which tracks mostly IT and healthcare firms, closed the day 2.6% higher, its best finish since 2017. Over a dozen pharmaceutical companies listed on the Shanghai and Shenzhen indices went up by 10%, the maximum amount allowed per day.
Mask manufacturing company Tianjin Teda saw its shares advancing by 10% today. Meanwhile, stocks of Jiangsu Bioperfectus Technologies surged by 20% on the Star Market board. The company recently claimed that it has developed a testing kit that can detect the virus better.
There are 139 new cases of the disease, which is said to be pneumonia caused by a new coronavirus strain. The outbreak started in China’s Wuhan City. The two cases identified in Thailand and the one in Japan have all been linked to the Chinese city.
Various industries in China, Hong Kong and even Macau are being impacted by the reported coronavirus cases. The travel and gaming sectors are reportedly seeing a decline ahead of the upcoming Lunar New Year celebrations, which is also China’s largest travel holiday.
But stocks in Asia were generally higher today. The Shanghai Composite was up 0.7% at Monday’s close. The KOSPI of South Korea jumped 0.5% while the Nikkei 225 advanced 0.2%.
However, the Hang Seng Index of Hong Kong dropped 0.9% as a new round of protest erupted. Protesters demanded that international sanctions be levied on the Chinese Communist Party.
Australia’s benchmark S&P/ASX 200 also started the trading week on a positive note. The index was up 0.36% or 25.40 points to 7,089.50. Its broader All Ordinaries also went up by 0.37% or 26.70 points to 7,207.