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Asian Stocks Mixed, Taiwan surges more than 3%

Stocks in Asia-Pacific were mixed on Wednesday as investors monitored bond yields following a recent rise.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 slipped 0.58% on the day to 30,292.19 while the Topix index shed 0.18% to close at 1,961.49.

Japan’s exports rose 6.4% in January as compared with a year earlier, according to trade statistics released Wednesday by the country’s Ministry of Finance.

The Taiex in Taiwan surged 3.54% to close at 16,362.29, with shares of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company soaring 4.91%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index gained 1.1% to end its trading day at 31,084.94.

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Taiwan Capitalization Weighted Stock Index.

South Korea’s Kospi closed 0.93% lower at 3,133.73. Shares in Australia also declined, with the S&P/ASX 200 closing 0.46% lower at 6,885.20.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.39%.

Markets in mainland China remained closed on Wednesday for the Lunar New Year holidays.

Overnight on Wall Street, the S&P 500 closed 0.1% lower at 3,932.59 while the Nasdaq Composite declined 0.3% to end its trading day at 14,047.50. The Dow Jones Industrial Average edged 64.35 points higher to a record close of 31,522.75.

The moves stateside came as the benchmark 10-year Treasury yield jumped 9 basis points on Tuesday to top 1.3% — a level not seen since February 2020. The 30-year rate also hit its highest level in a year. The yield on the 10-year Treasury last stood at 1.2989%.

“The move up in yields has been driven by increasing inflationary concerns amid a rise in energy prices along with the prospect of a big US fiscal stimulus and the global recovery entering a more solid stage as vaccine roll out lead to the reopening of economies,” Rodrigo Catril, a currency strategist at National Australia Bank, wrote in a note.

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The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 90.757 following an earlier high of 90.814.

The Japanese yen traded at 105.95 per dollar, having weakened from levels below 105.2 against the greenback seen earlier this week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.775 after seeing levels around $0.78 yesterday.

Oil prices were higher in the afternoon of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up 0.88% to $63.91 per barrel. U.S. crude futures gained 0.65% to $60.44 per barrel.

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