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Asia-Pacific shares rise as omicron worries ease

Hang Seng

Hang Seng index added 0.16%, Shanghai composite rose 0.13%, Shenzhen component jumped 0.256%, Nikkei 225 rose 0.49%, Topix index added 0.6%, Kospi jumped 0.23%, and S&P/ASX 200 advanced 0.22%

Asia-Pacific shares rose in Thursday trade, as worries over the omicron variant of coronavirus eased.

Hong Kong-listed shares of Chinese e-commerce titan plunged 7.09% while Tencent surged 4.02%. Those moves came after Tencent announced it will distribute majority of its shares in to its shareholders, effectively diluting its stake in the e-commerce firm from around 17% to nearly 2.3%.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index shed earlier gains, adding 0.16% by the afternoon.

Mainland Chinese stocks were higher, with the Shanghai composite up 0.13% while the Shenzhen component jumped 0.256%. Investors continued monitoring Covid developments in the country after the major Chinese city of Xi’an entered a lockdown on Thursday as authorities seek to control a flare-up of Covid cases.

The Nikkei 225 in Japan edged 0.49% higher while the Topix index added 0.6%. South Korea’s Kospi jumped 0.23%.

The S&P/ASX 200 in Australia advanced 0.22%.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded 0.53% higher.

Overnight in the US, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) added 261.19 points to 35,753.89 while the S&P 500 gained 1.02% to 4,696.56. The Nasdaq Composite climbed 1.18% to 15,521.89.

Those gains on Wall Street came after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Wednesday granted authorization for Pfizer’s Covid treatment pill, the first oral antiviral drug cleared during the pandemic.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 96.045 after a recent slide from above 96.3.

The Japanese yen traded at 114.12 per dollar after weakening earlier this week from levels below 113.6 against the greenback. The Australian dollar was at $0.7206 after yesterday’s surge from around $0.712.

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