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Asia – Pacific Markets Mixed as Mainland Chinese Stocks Resume After Lunar Break

Stocks in Asia-Pacific were lower on Thursday, as mainland Chinese markets returned to trade after a long Lunar New Year break.

By the Thursday market close on the mainland, the Shanghai composite rose 0.55% to 3,675.36 while the Shenzhen component fell 1.22% to about 15,767.44. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index slipped more than 1%, as of its final hour of trading.

The Nikkei 225 in Japan closed 0.19% lower at 30,236.09 while the Topix index declined 1% to finish its trading day at 1,941.91. South Korea’s Kospi fell 1.5% to close at 3,086.66.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 closed little changed at 6,885.90.

Australia’s unemployment rate decreased to 6.4% in January, according to seasonally adjusted estimates released Thursday by the country’s Bureau of Statistics. That compared against December’s unemployment rate of 6.6%.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 0.8%.

Overnight stateside, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 90.27 points higher at 31,613.02. The S&P 500 declined fractionally to finish its trading day at 3,931.33 while the Nasdaq Composite closed 0.58% lower at about 13,965.50.

Asian Markets Oil & Currencies

Oil prices rose in the afternoon of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up 0.89% to $64.91 per barrel. U.S. crude futures gained 0.74% to $61.59 per barrel.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 90.926 following a recent rise from levels below 90.3.

The Japanese yen traded at 105.88 per dollar, weaker than levels below 105.6 against the greenback seen earlier this week. The Australian dollar was at $0.7751 after seeing levels around $0.78 earlier in the trading week.

Read also: Asian Stocks Mixed, Taiwan surges more than 3%