Asia-Pacific stocks mostly higher; New Zealand dollar jumps following central bank announcement

SINGAPORE — Stocks in Asia-Pacific were mostly higher in Wednesday afternoon trade, with multiple markets in Southeast Asia closed for a holiday.

The Nikkei 225 in Japan rose 0.31% while the Topix index gained about 0.1%. South Korea’s Kospi shed 0.3%.

Mainland Chinese stocks were mixed, with the Shanghai composite up 0.29% while the Shenzhen component dipped 0.495%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 0.71%.

The S&P/ASX 200 in Australia sat fractionally lower.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan nudged 0.35% higher.

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand announced Wednesday it would maintain the current stimulatory monetary settings until its inflation and employment targets are met. Following that announcement, the New Zealand dollar jumped around 1% to $0.7305, strengthening further from levels below $0.72 seen earlier this week.

In Southeast Asia, markets in Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand are closed for a holiday on Wednesday.

Overnight stateside, the S&P 500 shed 0.21% to 4,188.13 while the Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 81.52 points to 34,312.46. The Nasdaq Composite closed fractionally lower at 13,657.17.

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 89.619 — weaker as compared to levels above 89.7 seen recently.

The Japanese yen traded at 108.80 per dollar after touching levels around 108.6 against the greenback yesterday. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7788, stronger than levels below $0.772 seen earlier in the week.

Oil prices were lower in the afternoon of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures shedding 0.12% to $68.57 per barrel. U.S. crude futures slipped 0.24% to $65.91 per barrel.

(With Inputs from cnbc)

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