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Asia – Pacific Markets Trade Higher, Topix Gains 1.86%

Stocks in Asia-Pacific mostly rose on Friday, following an overnight bounce for stocks stateside.

Shares in Japan led gains among the region’s major markets. The Nikkei 225 jumped 2.32% to close at 28,084.47. That followed a more than 2% plunge seen on Thursday. The Topix index gained 1.86% to finish its trading day at 1,883.42. South Korea’s Kospi advanced 1% on the day to 3,153.32.

Mainland Chinese stocks also closed higher, with the Shanghai composite rising 1.77% to 3,490.38 and the Shenzhen component surging 2.092% to 14,208.78.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index gained 1.11% on the day to 28,027.57. Hong Kong-listed shares of Chinese tech giant Alibaba plunged 4.03% on Friday after the firm posted its first operating loss as a public company in its fiscal fourth quarter.

Over in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 climbed 0.45% to close at 7,014.20 while the MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan gained 0.84%.

In Singapore, the Straits Times index fell 2.18% to close at 3,055.02. The losses came after the Southeast Asian nation said Friday it’s “very likely” that the air travel bubble with Hong Kong will not start on May 26 as planned. The government also announced there will be more Covid-19 restrictions starting this weekend, following a recent rise in local infections.

The Singapore dollar weakened about 0.1% against the greenback, trading at 1.3346 per dollar. Shares of Singapore Airlines plunged 5.66%, while Cathay Pacific’s stock in Hong Kong edged 0.31% higher.

Investors also continued to monitor the coronavirus situation in India, with official data released Friday showing 4,000 Covid-19 deaths reported in the last 24 hours. The Nifty 50 hovered around the flatline, as of 2:55 p.m. local time.

Overnight on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 433.79 points to close at 34,021.45 while the S&P 500 gained 1.22% to finish the trading day stateside at 4,112.50. The Nasdaq Composite advanced 0.72% to close at 13,124.99.

Asian Markets Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 90.475 following an earlier high of 90.803.

The Japanese yen traded at 109.33 per dollar, after weakening earlier in the week from below 109 against the greenback. The Australian dollar was at $0.7742, having declined from levels above $0.78 earlier this week.

Oil prices rose in the afternoon of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up 0.97% to $67.70 per barrel. U.S. crude futures traded 1.02% higher at $64.47 per barrel.