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Asia-Pacific stocks mixed; SenseTime jumps in Hong Kong debut


SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia-Pacific were mixed in Thursday trade despite gains overnight on Wall Street that led to a record close for both the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average.

Shares of Chinese artificial intelligence firm SenseTime Group rose more than 4% from their issue price in early trading following their Thursday debut in Hong Kong. The stock later extended those gains and finished its first trading day in Hong Kong 7.27% above its issue price.

SenseTime has been caught in the crossfire of tensions between Beijing and Washington, with the firm earlier this month pushing its Hong Kong IPO back after being placed on a U.S. investment blacklist.

Hong Kong’s broader Hang Seng index advanced 0.11% on the day to 23,112.01.

Mainland Chinese stocks closed higher, with the Shanghai composite up 0.62% to 3,619.19 and the Shenzhen component gaining 0.972% to 14,796.23.

Elsewhere, the Nikkei 225 in Japan fell 0.4% to close at 28,791.71 while the Topix index declined 0.33% to 1,992.33. South Korea’s Kospi dropped 0.52%, finishing the trading day at 2,977.65.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 closed fractionally higher at 7,513.40.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan slipped 0.07%.

Wall Street record close

Overnight stateside, the S&P 500 gained 0.14% to 4,793.06 — its 70th record close of 2021. The Dow Jones Industrial Average also closed at a record, rising 90.42 points to 36,488.63. The Nasdaq Composite lagged, slipping 0.1% to about 15,766.22.

Those moves came as investors continued to assess the economic risks from the omicron Covid variant that has contributed to a surge in infections in places such as the U.S. and U.K.

The World Health Organization also warned Wednesday that new Covid variants could emerge during the pandemic that are “fully resistant to current vaccines or past infection.”

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 96.131 following a recent drop from above 96.3.

The Japanese yen traded at 115.14 per dollar, still weaker than levels below 114.8 seen against the greenback earlier in the week, The Australian dollar was at $0.7257 after a recent rise from below $0.724.

Oil prices were lower in the afternoon of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures slipping 0.34% to $78.96 per barrel. U.S. crude futures shed 0.34% to $76.30 per barrel.

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