Global Economy

Asia-Pacific stocks see muted moves; Australia jobs data for March ahead


SINGAPORE — Stocks in Asia-Pacific were little changed in morning trade, with Australia’s jobs data for March expected later on Thursday.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 advanced 0.22% in early trade while the Topix index gained 0.55%. South Korea’s Kospi advanced fractionally.

Meanwhile in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 dipped slightly. Australia’s jobs data for March, including the unemployment rate for that month, is set to be out at around 9:30 a.m. HK/SIN on Thursday.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded above the flatline.

Covid developments

In coronavirus developments, a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention panel decided Wednesday to postpone a decision on Johnson and Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine following the development of a rare but potentially life-threatening blood-clotting disorder in six women.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration asked states to temporarily halt using J&J’s Covid-19 vaccine “out of an abundance of caution.”

All that comes as authorities globally are racing to inoculate their populations as the virus continues to spread, with the World Health Organization warning Monday that the trajectory of the pandemic is “growing exponentially.”

Overnight on Wall Street, the S&P 500 shed 0.41% to close at 4,124.66 while the Nasdaq Composite declined about 1% to finish its trading day at 13,857.84. The Dow Jones Industrial Average nudged 53.62 points higher, closing at 33,730.89.

Currencies

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 91.616 following its decline from above 92.1 earlier in the week.

The Japanese yen traded at 108.88 per dollar, stronger than levels above 109.6 against the greenback seen earlier this week. The Australian dollar was at $0.773, having climbed from levels below $0.765 yesterday.

Oil prices dipped in the morning of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures down 0.35% to $66.35 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also shed 0.41% to $62.89 per barrel.

Here’s a look at what’s on tap:

  • Australia: Jobs data for March at 9:30 a.m. HK/SIN



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