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South Korea’s Kospi jumps 1% as Asia-Pacific markets mostly rise

SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia-Pacific were mostly higher in Thursday trade, as investors reacted to data releases in Australia and China.

South Korea’s Kospi led gains regionally as it rose 1.01% in afternoon trade.

Mainland Chinese stocks were higher by the afternoon, with the Shanghai composite rising 0.38% while the Shenzhen component advancing 0.445%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index shed 0.4%.

A private survey released Thursday showed slowing Chinese services activity growth in May. The Caixin/Markit services Purchasing Managers’ Index for May came in at 55.1 on Thursday, lower than the reading of 56.3 in April. Still, that was well above the 50 level that separates expansion from contraction.

PMI readings above 50 represent expansion while those below that level signify contraction. PMI readings are sequential and represent month-on-month expansion or contraction.

Elsewhere in Japan, the Nikkei 225 gained 0.47% while the Topix index advanced 0.83%.

Shares in Australia also rose, with the S&P/ASX 200 climbing 0.44%. Australia’s retail sales rose 1.1% month-on-month in April on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to data released Thursday by the country’s Bureau of Statistics.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan gained 0.33%.

Stocks on Wall Street edged higher overnight stateside. The Dow Jones Industrial Average eked a 25.07 point gain to 34,600.38 while the S&P 500 climbed 0.14% to 4,208.12. The Nasdaq Composite rose 0.14% to 13,756.33.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 89.946 following a recent spike above 90.1.

The Japanese yen traded at 109.67 per dollar, weaker than levels below 109.5 seen against the greenback earlier this week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7744, having climbed from levels around $0.772 yesterday.

Oil prices were higher in the afternoon of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up 0.56% to $71.75 per barrel. U.S. crude futures gained 0.52% to $69.19 per barrel.

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