/Asia-Pacific stocks mixed as investors react to Fed meeting minutes

Asia-Pacific stocks mixed as investors react to Fed meeting minutes

SINGAPORE — Stocks in Asia-Pacific struggled for direction in Thursday trade as investors reacted to minutes released overnight from the U.S. Federal Reserve’s November meeting.

Mainland Chinese stocks were lower in morning trade: The Shanghai composite declined about 0.3% while the Shenzhen component fell 0.952%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index traded 0.11% higher.

Stocks in Japan were higher, as the Nikkei 225 gained 0.66% while the Topix index rose 0.45%. South Korea’s Kospi advanced 0.35%.

Shares in Australia lagged, as the S&P/ASX 200 dipped 0.17%.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded 0.28% higher.

The summary of the Fed meeting from earlier this month indicated that U.S. central bank officials discussed ways of getting more money into the economy, which is still recovering from the coronavirus pandemic.

Overnight stateside, the Dow Jones Industrial Average declined about 173.77 points to close at 29,872.47. The S&P 500 shed 0.2% to finish its trading day at 3,629.65 after reaching an all-time closing high in the previous session. The Nasdaq Composite outperformed as it closed 0.5% higher at 12,094.40.

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 91.955 after seeing levels above 92.4 earlier this week.

The Japanese yen traded at 104.34 per dollar, having seen levels below 104 against the greenback early this week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $ 0.7359, above levels below $ 0.732 seen earlier in the week.

The Bank of Korea on Thursday held steady on its key policy rate at a record low of 0.5%, in line with expectations of economists in a Reuters poll.

Following that announcement, the Korean won traded at 1,104.85 per dollar, as compared to an earlier low of 1,107.30 against the greenback.

Oil prices were higher in the morning of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up 0.8% to $ 49 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also rose 0.66% to $ 46.01 per barrel.

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