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Asian shares mostly higher as focus shifts to virus recovery

In this photo provided by the New York Stock Exchange, a trader works at the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020.  The big rally for markets worldwide is slowing on Tuesday, but optimism remains high that the global economy may still be on track for a return to normal. (Colin Ziemer/New York Stock Exchange via AP)
In this photo provided by the New York Stock Exchange, a trader works at the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020. The big rally for markets worldwide is slowing on Tuesday, but optimism remains high that the global economy may still be on track for a return to normal. (Colin Ziemer/New York Stock Exchange via AP) (New York Stock Exchange)

BEIJING – Shares were mostly higher Wednesday in Asia after a worldwide rally spurred by hopes that a COVID-19 vaccine will help the global economy return to normal.

Benchmarks advanced in Tokyo, Seoul and Sydney but edged lower in Hong Kong and Shanghai, where new Chinese regulations focused on technology companies prompted selling in that sector.

The proposed regulations issued Monday for public comment give guidelines on how China’s 2008 anti-monopoly law will be applied to internet companies. The announcement gave no indication operators are accused of wrongdoing but cited areas where regulators might look for problems including sharing of information and alliances or pricing services below cost to keep out new competitors.

As of midday, e-commerce giant Alibaba's shares had fallen 7.3% and Tencent, owner of the popular WeChat social media platform, had lost 5% and online retailer JD.com was down 6.2%.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng lost 0.2% to 26,241.52 and the Shanghai Composite index declined 0.2% to 3,356.88.

But other regional markets were mostly higher. Japan's Nikkei 225 index gained 1.2% to 25,197.68 and the S&P/ASX 200 advanced 1.3% to 6,419.50. South Korea's Kospi rose 0.7% to 2,470.11.

On Wall Street, stocks downshifted on Tuesday after a powerful worldwide rally the day before. It was the second straight day that rising hopes for a COVID-19 vaccine pushed investors to reorder which stocks they see winning and losing.

Treasury yields and oil held onto their big gains from a day earlier or added some more amid strengthened confidence in the economy.