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Asian Markets Mixed as Australia’s GDP Beats Expectations, Positive Coronavirus Vaccine News

Stocks in Asia-Pacific were mixed in Wednesday trade after major indexes on Wall Street surged to record highs overnight.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was fractionally lower by the afternoon. Trading of Xiaomi shares in Hong Kong was suspended. Reuters reported that the Chinese smartphone maker has raised $3.91 billion as part of a deal that includes the largest top-up placement in Hong Kong, citing a term sheet.

Meanwhile, shares of Evergrande Property Services — a unit of Chinese property developer China Evergrande Group — dipped about 0.9% from their issue price as they made their debut on Wednesday. China Evergrande Group shares in Hong Kong were down 1.69%.

Mainland Chinese stocks were higher: The Shanghai composite rose fractionally while the Shenzhen component added 0.218%.

Elsewhere, South Korea’s Kospi gained 1.29%. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 was 0.12% higher while the Topix index added 0.48%

Shares in Australia were little changed, as the S&P/ASX 200 was largely flat.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan advanced 0.25%.

Australia’s economy expanded 3.3% quarter-on-quarter in September, according to data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics on Wednesday. That smashed expectations for a 2.6% rise by economists in a Reuters poll and followed a 7% quarter-on-quarter contraction in the June quarter.

Following that release, the Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7381, after touching an earlier low of $0.7362.

The S&P 500 rose 1.1%, to close at 3,662.45 — a new record closing high. The Nasdaq Composite also saw a record close as it jumped 1.3% to 12,355.11. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 185.28 points end its trading day stateside at 29,823.92.

In coronavirus vaccine developments, Pfizer and BioNTech said Tuesday that they have applied to the European Medicines Agency for conditional marketing authorization of their coronavirus vaccine. If authorization is granted, it could enable use of the vaccine in Europe this month, according to BioNTech.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 91.149 following a decline earlier this week from levels above 91.5.

The Japanese yen traded at 104.34 per dollar, off levels below 104.1 against the greenback seen earlier in the trading week.

Oil prices slipped in the afternoon of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures down 0.78% to $47.05 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also shed 0.9% to $44.15 per barrel.

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