Shares wobble in volatile trade

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    TOKYO/WASHINGTON- Asian equities bounced between gains and losses on Thursday as a selloff in Chinese technology shares due to concerns they will be de-listed from US bourses and worries about a semiconductor shortage rattled some investors.

    MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.1 percent.

    Hong Kong shares fell sharply at the open but then trimmed their losses to a 0.18 percent decline. Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, Xiaomi Corp, and Tencent Holdings all traded lower.

    Shares in China rose 0.08 percent.

    Elsewhere, Japanese stocks rose 0.71 percent and Australian shares rose 0.24 percent as bargain hunters bought shares of consumer goods, real estate, and financial firms.

    US stock futures rose 0.25 percent.

    The US securities regulator is rolling out measures that would kick foreign companies off US stock exchanges if they do not comply with US auditing standards and require them to disclose any government affiliations, which is widely expected to target Chinese companies.

    In addition, concerns about extended economic lockdowns in Europe, disruptions to the distribution of coronavirus vaccinations and potential US tax hikes also weighed on investor sentiment.

    “Rising interest rates, uncertainty of tax policy, concern over inflation all remain top of mind for investors. However, none of these themes speak to rising appetite for risk,” said Peter Kenny of Kenny’s Commentary LLC and Strategic Board Solutions LLC in Denver.

    “We are seeing last year’s big gains underperform the broader market.”

    On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.01 percent, the Nasdaq Composite dropped 2.01 percent, while the S&P 500 lost 0.55 percent as optimistic comments by US Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen failed to ease profit-taking in the tech sector.