China’s Shanghai Composite index closed up 0.5 percent after wavering between gains and losses following data that showed growth in the country’s service sector.
Blue-chip stocks were mixed; brokerages including Citic Securities and Haitong Securities receded 0.8 and 0.5 percent, respectively, while Bank of China led losses in the banking sector, down nearly 2 percent, on news that the lender has seized control of London’s Grosvenor House from its Indian owner and appointed an administrator to begin marketing the property for sale.
Shandong Iron and Steel elevated 1.7 percent after it sought control of the project underway in the Tonkolili iron ore mine in Sierra Leone, which London-listed African Minerals owns a 75 percent stake in. China Vanke was also in focus after posting 8.4 billion yuan worth of sales in February. Shares of the property developer inched up 0.2 percent.
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In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index sagged 1 percent to a two-and-a-half-week low, as a bad showing in January retail sales weighed on retailers. Chow Tai Fook, Sa Sa International and Giordano International made losses between 0.3 to 3.2 percent.
Gaming shares were also hit by a 49 percent plunge in Macau’s gaming revenue for the month of February, as wealthy players shied away from China’s only legal casino hub. Analysts had expected a decline of 45 to 55 percent. Sands China and Galaxy Entertainment eased 1.7 and 2.5 percent, while Melco Crown bounced up 0.6 percent.
Standard Chartered, which is due to announce its full-year profit results after market close today, sagged 0.9 percent.