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Asia – Pacific Markets Decline, KOSPI Extends Decline in South Korea

Shares in major Asia-Pacific markets slipped on Thursday, with South Korea leading the losses.

The Kospi in South Korea declined 1.35% to close at 3,087.55.

Mainland Chinese stocks also closed lower, with the Shanghai composite down 0.44% to 3.501.86 while the Shenzhen component slid 0.835% to 15,105.94. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index dipped about 0.6%, as of its final hour of trading.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 shed 1.06% to close at 28,341.95 while the Topix index slipped 0.32% to end its trading day at 1,865.12.

Stocks in Australia slipped too, and the S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.87% on the day to close at 6,765.50. Australia’s exports of goods and services in December rose 3% month-on-month on a seasonally adjusted basis, the country’s Bureau of Statistics announced Thursday.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares declined 0.65%.

Shares of South Korean automakers Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors rose 1.22% and 0.41%, respectively, on Thursday. The moves came after sources told CNBC that Apple is close to finalizing a deal with Hyundai-Kia to manufacture an Apple-branded autonomous electric vehicle at the Kia assembly plant in West Point, Georgia.

On Wednesday, shares of Kia surged following a local media report that the carmaker is set to sign a 4 trillion won (about $3.59 billion) deal with Apple to build electric vehicles, according to Reuters.

Overnight stateside, the S&P 500 rose 0.1% to close at 3,830.17. The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 36.12 points to end its trading day at 30,723.60 while the Nasdaq Composite dipped slightly to close at 13,610.54.

Asian Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 91.319 after rising from levels below 90.8 earlier this week.

The Japanese yen traded at 105.22 per dollar after hovering largely around the 105 level against the greenback yesterday. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7626, still off levels above $0.768 seen last week.

Oil prices rose in the afternoon of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up 0.86% to $58.96 per barrel. U.S. crude futures gained 0.9% to $56.19 per barrel.

Read: Asian Markets Trade Lower as Data Shows China Service Industry Dropped Sharply in January