Asia-Pacific stocks mixed as oil prices continue to increase, with Brent topping $116 per barrel

Asia-Pacific stocks mixed as oil prices continue to increase

March 4, 2022: -Shares in Asia-Pacific were mixed on Thursday as U.S. stocks bounced back overnight. Oil prices, meanwhile, continued to move higher following a price surge in the latest days.

The Nikkei 225 in Japan closed 0.7% higher at 26,577.27, while the Topix index climbed 1.18% to 1,881.80. South Korea’s Kospi also gained 1.61%, ending its trading day at 2,747.08.

Mainland Chinese stocks closed in negative territory, with the Shanghai composite decreasing fractionally to 3,481.11 while the Shenzhen component slipped 1.087% to 13,201.82. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index edged 0.51% higher as its final hour of trading.

A Thursday, a private survey showed slowing Chinese services activity growth in February, with the Caixin/Markit services Purchasing Managers’ Index coming in at 50.2 for that month. That compared against January’s reading of 51.4.

The 50-point mark in PMI readings separates growth from contraction. PMI readings are sequential and represent month-on-month expansion or contraction.

Over in India, the Nifty 50 dipped 0.29% while the BSE Sensex shed 0.26%, as of 12:43 p.m. local time.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 advanced 0.49% on the day to 7,151.40.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded 0.51% higher.

Investors continued monitoring movements in the oil market, with crude prices spiking to their highest level in years on Wednesday, amid Russia’s escalating war on Ukraine.

In the afternoon of Asia trading hours, international benchmark Brent crude futures surged 3.6% to $116.99 per barrel, after earlier trading as high as $118.22 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also climbed 3.68% to $114.67 per barrel.

OPEC and its allies decided Wednesday to hold production steady despite the recent dramatic spike in oil prices.

Overnight on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average surged 596.40 points to 33,891.35. The S&P 500 gained 1.86% to 4,386.54 while the Nasdaq Composite advanced 1.62% to 13,752.02.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 97.429, still higher than the levels below 96.6 seen last week.

The Japanese yen traded at 115.68 per dollar, having weakened yesterday from below 115.2 against the greenback. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7321, essentially holding on to gains from its climb below $0.72 earlier in the week.

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