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Shares in Asia-Pacific mixed as investors monitor Covid in China, yen moves

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SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia-Pacific were mixed in Thursday morning trade as investors continue to watch China’s Covid situation along with moves in the Japanese yen.

Chinese stocks fell in early trade, with the Shanghai composite shedding 0.3% while the Shenzhen component shed 0.12%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index slipped 0.3%.

Investors are watching for signs of policy support from Chinese authorities as the mainland continues to grapple with its most severe Covid wave since the initial outbreak in 2020. Its strict zero-Covid policy has raised questions about China’s economic outlook.

The Nikkei 225 in Japan gained 1.14% while the Topix index advanced 0.63%. South Korea’s Kospi climbed 0.61%.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 nudged 0.22% higher.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan hovered below the flatline.

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Shares on Wall Street were mixed overnight. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 249.59 points, or 0.71%, to 35,160.79. The S&P 500 dipped fractionally to 4,459.45 while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite lagged, dropping 1.22% to around 13,453.07.

Yen watch

The Japanese yen traded at 128.34 per dollar after strengthening from levels above 129 against the greenback yesterday.

Still, the Japanese currency remains weaker as compared with levels below 126 seen against the dollar last week.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 100.419 following a recent drop from around 101.

The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7431, higher than levels below $0.736 seen earlier this week.

Oil prices were higher in the morning of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up 0.97% to $107.84 per barrel. U.S. crude futures climbed 0.9% to $103.11 per barrel.

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