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China benchmark lending rate, Wall Street losses

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SINGAPORE — Shares in the Asia-Pacific markets gained on Friday as a volatile trading week comes to a close and investors watch for the release of China’s benchmark lending rate.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.41% in early trade, while the Topix advanced 0.23%.

Japan’s core consumer prices, which include energy costs but not fresh food, rose 2.1% in April compared to a year earlier, in line with economists’ estimates, Reuters reported.

The S&P/ASX 200 in Australia was 0.74% higher.

In South Korea, the Kospi gained around 1%, and the Kosdaq climbed 0.91%.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.46%.

Stock picks and investing trends from CNBC Pro:

Chinese electric vehicle maker Nio is set to start trading in Singapore, the third exchange its shares are listed on.

In other developments in the day ahead, China is expected to cut its benchmark lending rates, according to a Reuters poll of analysts.

Overnight on Wall Street, major US stock indexes fell, with the S&P 500 moving closer to a bear market. Investors fear that the Fed hikes could tip the US into a recession.

The S&P 500 fell 0.58% to 3,900.79, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 236.94 points, or 0.75%, to 31,253.13. The Nasdaq Composite was down 0.26% to 11,388.50. Those moves followed sharp drops on Wednesday.

currencies

The US dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 102,888, falling from above 103 earlier this week.

The Japanese yen continued to strengthen and was last at 127.72 per dollar, while the Australian dollar was at $0.7041.

Crude oil futures fell in Asia trade. US crude slipped 0.32% to $111.85 per barrel, while international benchmark Brent crude was down 0.34% at $111.66 per barrel.

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