Asia-Pacific stocks mixed; Australia central bank rate decision ahead

SINGAPORE — Stocks in Asia-Pacific traded mixed on Tuesday morning as investors looked ahead to the Reserve Bank of Australia’s latest interest rate decision.

The Nikkei 225 in Japan slipped 0.82% in morning trade while the Topix index shed 0.69%. South Korea’s Kospi climbed 0.11%.

Mainland Chinese stocks were lower as the Shanghai composite declined 0.72% while the Shenzhen component fell 0.611%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index dipped 0.51%.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 shed 0.24%. Shares of Afterpay saw more gains in Tuesday trade, jumping more than 12%. The firm’s stock surged nearly 19% on Monday after U.S. fintech firm Square announced it had agreed to buy the buy now, pay later giant. 

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded 0.36% lower.

Looking ahead, the Australian central bank is set to announce its interest rate decision at 12:30 p.m. HK/SIN on Tuesday.

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Overnight on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 97.31 points to 34,838.16 while the S&P 500 slipped 0.18% to 4,387.16. The Nasdaq Composite edged fractionally higher to 14,681.07.

Concerns over Covid are weighing on investor sentiment. The CDC director said Monday that the seven-day average of daily coronavirus cases in the U.S. surpassed the peak seen last summer, when the country didn’t have an authorized Covid-19 vaccine.

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 92.062 after recently seeing levels below 92.

The Japanese yen traded at 109.30 per dollar, stronger than levels above 109.5 seen against the greenback yesterday. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7358, having risen from below $0.735 yesterday.

Oil prices rose in the morning of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up 0.26% to $73.08 per barrel. U.S. crude futures gained 0.31% to $71.48 per barrel.


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