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Asia-Pacific stocks jump as investors evaluate Omicron concerns

On Wednesday, major markets across Asia-Pacific jumped after losses triggered by repeated uncertainty on the Omicron the day before.

On Tuesday, South Korea’s Kospi led gains, increasing 2.15% to close at 2,899.73 after a tumble of more than 3%. 

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index also raised, increasing 0.79% to finish trading at 23,658.93. However, Chinese stocks closed the day mixed, with the Shanghai composite increasing 0.37% to 3,576.88 and the Shenzhen component lower at around 14,794.24.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 finished 0.42% higher at 27,935.63, a slight recovery after multiple sessions of losses. The Topix index improved 0.45% to 1,936.75.

Beyond Southeast Asia, the Straits Times index jumped 1.78% in Singapore as of 4:15 p.m. local time.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 closed 0.29% lower at 7,235.91. Official data showed Wednesday, Australia’s economy shrank 1.8% in the September quarter. According to Reuters, that was over market forecasts for a 2.8% drop.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares increased 1.16% outside Japan.

 

Brent jumps approximately 5%

In the afternoon of Asia trading hours, Oil prices were higher after falling the day before. International benchmark Brent crude futures are up 3.9% to $71.87 per barrel. U.S. crude futures surged 3.55% to $68.53 per barrel.

In fact, the U.S. dollar index was at 95.896 after a recent fall from above 96.6.

The Japanese yen traded at 113.49 per dollar after a new weakening from below 114 against the greenback. The Australian dollar was at $0.7152, over an earlier low of $0.7118.

China’s factory activity reports

On Wednesday, a private survey showed that Chinese factory activity narrowed in November. The Caixin/Markit manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index declined to 49.8. Moreover, that was a drop from October’s reading of 50.7.

On Tuesday, China’s official manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index came in at 50.4 for November. It was above analysts’ expectations for a reading of 49.5.

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