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South Korea leads gains among mixed Asia-Pacific stocks; Australia central bank rate decision ahead

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SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia-Pacific were mixed in Tuesday trade, with the Australian central bank set to announce its interest rate decision later in the day.

South Korea’s Kospi jumped 1.53%, leading gains among the region’s major markets as shares of industry heavyweight Samsung Electronics jumped about 3%.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index pared earlier gains but remained around 0.65% higher. Mainland Chinese stocks were lower as the Shanghai composite slipped 0.62% while the Shenzhen component declined fractionally.

Japanese stocks slipped following their surge on Monday, and the Nikkei 225 declined 0.4% while the Topix index fell 0.51%.

RBA monetary policy decision

The S&P/ASX 200 in Australia dipped 0.32%. The Reserve Bank of Australia on Tuesday announced its decision to keep its cash rate target unchanged but decided to stop its target of 10 basis points for the April 2024 Australian Government Bond.

“The decision to discontinue the yield target reflects the improvement in the economy and the earlier-than-expected progress towards the inflation target,” RBA Governor Philip Lowe said in a statement.

“Given that other market interest rates have moved in response to the increased likelihood of higher inflation and lower unemployment, the effectiveness of the yield target in holding down the general structure of interest rates in Australia has diminished,” Lowe said.

Following the RBA’s announcement, the Australian dollar fell to $0.7503 against an earlier high of $0.7532.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded 0.29% higher.

Wall Street record closing highs

Overnight on Wall Street, the the S&P 500 gained 0.18% to a record closing high of 4,613.67. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 94.28 points to 35,913.84, also finishing the trading day at a fresh record. The Nasdaq Composite advanced 0.63% to about 15,595.92, also a closing record.

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 93.921 after declining recently from above 94.

The Japanese yen traded at 113.92 per dollar, stronger than levels around 114.4 seen against the greenback yesterday.

Oil prices were higher in the morning of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures rising 0.15% to $84.84 per barrel. U.S. crude futures hovered above the flatline, trading at $84.07 per barrel.

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