Australia leads gains as major Asia-Pacific markets trade mixed

SINGAPORE — Stocks in Asia-Pacific trade mixed on Thursday morning after the S&P 500 nudged higher to a record closing high overnight.

Shares in Australia led gains among the region’s major markets, with the S&P/ASX 200 up 1.18%.

Mainland Chinese markets, on the other hand, slipped. The Shanghai composite declined 0.26% while the Shenzhen component shed 0.258%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index advanced 0.14%.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 slipped 0.34% while the Topix index declined 0.69%. South Korea’s Kospi traded around the flatline.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan sat below the flatline.

Overnight stateside, the S&P 500 rose 0.15% to a new closing high of 4,079.95. The Dow Jones Industrial Average edged 16.02 points higher to finish its trading day at 33,446.26 while the Nasdaq Composite closed about 0.1% lower at 13,688.84.

The moves on Wall Street came as the U.S. Federal Reserve released minutes from its March meeting during which it kept its accommodative policy in place. The meeting summary indicated that while officials saw the economy was gaining considerably, they see much more progress needed before ultra-easy policy changes.

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 92.474 following its decline earlier in the week from above 92.8.

The Japanese yen traded at 109.78 per dollar, stronger than levels above 110.5 against the greenback seen early this week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7608, having declined from levels above $0.764 yesterday.

Oil prices were lower in the morning of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures down 0.6% to $62.78 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also dipped 0.65% to $59.38 per barrel.

— CNBC’s Jeff Cox contributed to this report.

(With Inputs from CNBC)

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