Trading in Asia-Pacific was muted Thursday as multiple major markets in the region were closed for holidays.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 0.45% on the day to 30,173.57 while the Straits Times index in Singapore closed little changed at 2,925.48. Markets in Hong Kong and Singapore ended their trading day earlier than usual on the eve of the Lunar New Year.
In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 finished its trading day 0.1% lower at 6,850.10 while the MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific rose 0.2%.
Markets in China, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan were closed for holidays.
In economic developments, U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said Wednesday that policy will need to stay “patiently accommodative.” The Fed chair said the U.S. is “a long way” from where it needs to be in terms of employment despite the economy having reclaimed more than 12 million jobs since the early days of the Covid pandemic.
Overnight on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average edged 61.97 points higher to a record closing high of 31,437.80. The S&P 500 declined less than 0.1% to finish its trading day at 3,909.88 while the Nasdaq Composite closed 0.25% lower at 13,972.53.
Currencies and oil in Asia
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 90.362 as it struggled to recover following a slip from above 90.8 earlier this week.
The Japanese yen traded at 104.58 per dollar, still stronger than levels above 105.2 against the greenback seen early this week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7745, mostly holding on to gains after its rise from below $0.768 earlier in the trading week.
Oil prices declined in the afternoon of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures down 0.55% to $61.13 per barrel. U.S. crude futures shed 0.58% to $58.34 per barrel.