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Asia-Pacific stocks end mixed as markets close for Christmas

Shares in Asia-Pacific were mixed, as some major markets in the region close early for Christmas. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index increased while Mainland Chinese stocks fell. The Shanghai Composite dropped while the Shenzhen component plunged.

In Friday trade, shares in the Asia-Pacific region appeared mixed as some major markets, including Singapore and Hong Kong, close early for Christmas.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 0.14% on the day to close at 23,223.77. On the other hand, Mainland Chinese stocks fell. The Shanghai Composite dropped 0.39%, while the Shenzhen component dropped 0.738%.

The Nikkei 225 appeared fractionally higher while the Topix index cleared earlier its gains to fall about 0.2% in Japan. South Korea’s Kospi accumulated 0.62%.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 increased 0.45% to close at 7,420.31, while in Southeast Asia, Singapore’s Straits Times index closed 0.38% higher at 3,108.29.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific stocks edged 0.14% higher outside Japan.

On Thursday, overnight stateside, major averages advanced for a third day as investors anticipated panicking about the spread of omicron. The S&P 500 increased 0.63% to close at a new record of 4,725.78. The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 196.68 points to 35,950.57, while the Nasdaq Composite rose 0.86% to 15,653.38.

On Friday, U.S. markets are closed for Christmas.

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index tracking the greenback against its peers was 96.018, following its fall earlier this week from about 96.7.

The Japanese yen traded at 114.32 per dollar. It appeared still weaker than levels below 113.6, seen earlier in the week. The Australian dollar stood at $0.724, rising from below $0.715 earlier this week.

In the afternoon of Asia trading hours, oil prices fell. International benchmark Brent crude futures also fell 0.84% to $76.22 per barrel.

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