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Asia-Pacific stocks dip as investors watch China tech shares in Hong Kong

Marcel Obioha 24 Jul 23

SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia-Pacific were lower in Friday morning trade as investors monitor Chinese tech stocks in Hong Kong after regulatory concerns resurfaced.

South Korea's Kospi sat below the flatline in early trade. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 shed 0.18%.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded 0.07% lower.

Markets in Japan are closed on Friday for a holiday.

Investors will watch Chinese tech shares in Hong Kong after Bloomberg News reported that Beijing is considering harsh penalties on ride-hailing giant Didi. The penalties being planned range from a fine likely bigger than the record $2.8 billion Alibaba paid earlier this year to even a forced delisting after Didi's IPO last month.

Shares of Didi stateside plunged more than 11% on Thursday. Earlier in July, the firm was forced to stop signing up new users and also had its app removed from Chinese app stores due to alleged collection and use of personal data.

That development came as Beijing continues its months-long crackdown on China's tech behemoths, targeting issues from anti-trust to data regulation.

Overnight stateside, the Dow Jones Industrial Average edged 25.35 points higher to 34,823.35 while the S&P 500 gained 0.2% to 4,367.48. The Nasdaq Composite rose 0.36% to 14,684.60.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 92.805 — off levels above 93 seen earlier in the week.

The Japanese yen traded at 110.12 per dollar, weaker than levels below 109.6 seen against the greenback earlier this week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.738, above levels below $0.732 seen earlier in the trading week.

Oil prices were lower in the morning of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures down 0.23% to $73.62 per barrel. U.S. crude futures slipped 0.24% to $71.74 per barrel.