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Asia Pacific Stocks Edge Higher, China Markets Lead Gains Despite Rising COVID-19 Cases in India.

Shares in Asia-Pacific mostly rose in Monday trade, though India’s markets lagged as the country continues to see a surge in Covid-19 infections.

Mainland Chinese stocks led gains among the region’s major markets, with the Shanghai composite up 1.49% on the day to 3,477.55 while the Shenzhen component surged 2.894% to 14,117.80.

asian markets
Shanghai composite index performance chart

India’s markets tumbled in Monday trade as both the Nifty 50 and BSE Sensex dropped more than 2% each as the COVID-19 situation in the country remains severe and weighs on investor sentiment.

On Sunday, India reported 261,500 new cases. The country now has the second-highest number of cases globally, behind only the U.S., according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Hong Kong-listed shares of Alibaba slipped 1.44% in Monday afternoon trade. That came after Ant Group said in a tweet that a recent report by Reuters that the firm was looking at ways for Jack Ma to exit were “untrue and baseless.”

Other Hong Kong-listed shares of Chinese tech firms were mixed, with Tencent down 0.87% while Meituan gained 0.55%. The Hang Seng TECH index jumped 1.48%.

Meanwhile, Trip.com shares in Hong Kong jumped more than 4% from the issue price in the afternoon trade as they made their debut in the city on Monday.

The broader Hang Seng index in the city rose 0.43% as of its final hour of trading.

Elsewhere, the Nikkei 225 in Japan closed little changed at 29,685.37 while the Topix index dipped 0.22% to end the trading day at 1,956.56. Japan’s exports in March surged 16.1% as compared with a year earlier, Ministry of Finance data showed Monday. That was much higher than the 11.6% increase expected by economists in a Reuters poll.

Meanwhile, South Korea’s Kospi closed largely flat at 3,198.84 while the S&P/ASX 200 in Australia rose fractionally to finish the trading day at 7,065.60.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded about 0.1% higher.

Asian Markets Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 91.498 after a recent decline from above 91.8.

The Japanese yen traded at 108.46 per dollar, stronger than levels above 109.2 against the greenback seen last week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7741, having risen from below $0.768 last week.

Oil prices dipped in the afternoon of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures down 0.49% to $66.44 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also slipped 0.46% to $62.84 per barrel.