Stocks in Asia gave back some of their gains of the last two days in early Wednesday trading, though Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index bucked that trend by opening solidly higher.

But upsides for the Hong Kong stock market
HSI,
+0.46%

   are likely to be limited in the near term, as U.S. political uncertainties remain high, KGI Securities says. Tech stocks are lower, with Xiaomi
1810,
+0.23%

  losing 1.9%, AAC Technologies
2018,
+2.06%

  declining 1.0% and Tencent Holdings
700,
+0.75%

  off 0.1%. Insurance stocks are also down, with Ping An Insurance
2318,
-0.68%

  falling 1.1% and China Life Insurance
2628,
-0.55%

  0.8% lower. Among other stocks, Citic Ltd.
6030,
-1.03%

  is 1.4% lower and Geely Automobile
175,
-0.76%

  is off 1.3%.

Stocks in Japan
NIK,
-0.19%

  were off slightly, mirroring most other markets in the region.

Steady gains in employment appear to be underway in Australia with the number of payroll jobs up 0.4% in Victoria over the two weeks to Sept. 19, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Over the same period, payroll jobs increased 0.3% nationally. Still, payroll jobs across the country remain around 4.1% lower than in mid-March. Victoria is steadily shaking off a second wave of Covid-19. Australian stocks
XJO,
+1.35%

 were ahead nearly 0.9% on the news.

South Korea’s Kopsi
180721,
+0.58%

  fell after the country reported 114 new cases of the coronavirus, its first daily jump of over 100 in a week. Health officials had raised concerns that infections will rise because of increased travel during the five-day Chuseok harvest holiday that ended Sunday. The figures released by health officials Wednesday brought South Korea’s case total to 24,353 for the pandemic, including 425 deaths.

Losses were led by the airline and retail sectors. Ebbing hopes for fresh U.S. stimulus are dampening investor sentiment after President Trump halted bipartisan talks over a new coronavirus relief package. Airlines retreated, with Asiana Airlines
020560,
-0.23%

  down 2.6% and Jeju Air
089590,
-0.37%

  1.5% lower. Retailers are mostly down, with Lotte Himart
071840,
-0.97%

  falling 2.3%. Index heavyweight Samsung Electronics
005930,
+1.01%

  was down 0.5%.

The story was compiled from Dow Jones Newswires and Associated Press reports.

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