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Asian Markets Follow Wall Street in Decline; Dollar Posts Decline

Stocks in Asia-Pacific were mixed in Wednesday trade after major indexes on Wall Street snapped their multi-day winning streaks overnight. Meanwhile, the dollar weakened against other major currencies.

Mainland Chinese stocks were higher by their close: The Shanghai composite gained 1.05% to 3,414.45 while the Shenzhen component advanced 1.656% to 14,201.57. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose about 1.6%, as of its final hour of trading.

China’s 2019 GDP growth was revised downward to 6.0%, according to a statement released Wednesday by the country’s National Bureau of Statistics. That compared against a pre-revision 2019 growth rate of 6.1%.

Elsewhere, the Nikkei 225 in Japan slipped 0.45% to close at 27,444.17. The Wednesday losses came after the index surged more than 2% on Tuesday to close at a level not seen since August 1990, according to data from Refinitiv. The Topix index dipped 0.8% to finish its trading day at 1,804.68.

South Korea’s Kospi jumped 1.88% to close at 2,873.47. Shares in Australia slipped on the day, with the S&P/ASX 200 down 0.27% to 6,682.40.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 1.23%.

Wednesday was the final trading day in 2020 for stocks in Japan and South Korea as their markets will be closed on Thursday.

The dollar saw broad weakness against multiple currencies on Wednesday.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 89.774 as it slipped below the 90 level.

The Japanese yen traded at 103.30 per dollar, having strengthened from levels above 103.8 against the greenback seen earlier this week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7657, following a bounce this week from around the $0.756 level.

Overnight on Wall Street, stocks declined as lawmakers in Washington continued to disagree over direct payments to Americans.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped 68.30 points to close at 30,335.67. The S&P 500 ended its trading day 0.2% lower at 3,727.04, while the Nasdaq Composite slipped 0.4% to close at 12,850.22. Tuesday’s losses stateside snapped a three-day winning streak for both the Dow and S&P 500.

Oil prices were higher in the afternoon of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up about 0.5% to $51.34 per barrel. U.S. crude futures advanced 0.6% to $48.29 per barrel.