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Asian Markets Unchanged as China October Industrial Output Rose 28.2%

Stocks in Asia-Pacific traded little changed on Friday as investors react to data on China’s industrial profits for October.

Markets will also scrutinize concerns over the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine candidate, with results and methods used in their phase three vaccine trials under criticism from experts in the U.S.

Mainland Chinese markets were lower by the afternoon, with the Shanghai composite down slightly while the Shenzhen component shed 0.344%.

China’s industrial profits surged 28.2% year-on-year in October, the country’s National Bureau of Statistics announced Friday.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index declined 0.16%. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 edged 0.15% higher while the Topix index added 0.53%. South Korea’s Kospi gained 0.19%.

Meanwhile, shares in Australia dipped, with the S&P/ASX 200 down by 0.56%. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was fractionally lower.

As the race for a coronavirus vaccine continues, questions are being raised over AstraZeneca’s vaccine candidate, for which the firm said combined results revealed it to be 70% effective.

Markets had gotten a boost earlier this week after the interim analysis of clinical trials were released by AstraZeneca. That development had come on the back of a string of encouraging vaccine results after late-stage trial readouts from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, raising hopes of a recovery from the pandemic that has crippled economies globally.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 91.915 following its decline earlier this week from levels above 92.4.

The Japanese yen traded at 103.94 per dollar, as compared to an earlier low of 104.28 against the greenback. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7374, after rising from levels below $0.732 earlier this week.

Oil prices were mixed in the afternoon of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up fractionally at $47.84 per barrel. U.S. crude futures dropped 1.6% to $44.98 per barrel.