Shares in Asia-Pacific rose in Thursday trade, as fears over the omicron Covid variant eased.
Hong Kong-listed shares of Chinese e-commerce titan JD.com plunged 7.95% while Tencent surged 4.2%. Those moves came after Tencent announced it will distribute the majority of its shares in JD.com to its shareholders — valued at 127.7 billion Hong Kong dollars (about $16.37 billion), based on JD’s Wednesday close in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index sat about 0.4% higher as of its final hour of trading.
Mainland Chinese stocks closed higher, with the Shanghai composite up 0.57% to 3,643.34 while the Shenzhen component climbed 0.491% to 14,863.93. Investors continued monitoring Covid developments in the country after the major Chinese city of Xi’an entered a lockdown on Thursday as authorities seek to control a flare-up of Covid cases.
The Nikkei 225 in Japan nudged 0.83% higher to close at 28,798.37 while the Topix index gained 0.91% to 1,989.43. South Korea’s Kospi finished its trading day 0.46% higher at 2,998.17.
Elsewhere, the S&P/ASX 200 in Australia closed 0.31% higher at 7,387.60. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded 0.74% higher.
Overnight stateside on wall street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 261.19 points to 35,753.89 while the S&P 500 rose 1.02% to 4,696.56. The Nasdaq Composite jumped 1.18% to 15,521.89.
Those gains on Wall Street came after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday granted authorization for Pfizer’s Covid treatment pill, the first oral antiviral drug cleared during the pandemic.
Asian Markets Currencies & Oil
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 96.057 after a recent slide from above 96.3.
The Japanese yen traded at 114.22 per dollar after weakening earlier this week from levels below 113.6 against the greenback. The Australian dollar was at $0.7218 after yesterday’s surge from around $0.712.
Oil prices were muted in the afternoon of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures fractionally higher at $75.31 per barrel. U.S. crude futures climbed slightly higher to $72.79 per barrel.