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Asia-Pacific stocks mixed; Bank of Korea announces rate hike

SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia-Pacific were mixed in Thursday trade as investors reacted to the Bank of Korea’s rate decision.

South Korea’s Kospi led losses regionally, dipping 0.5%.

The Bank of Korea raised its policy rate by 25 basis points to 1%, a move that was largely expected by analysts in a Reuters poll.

Following the decision, the Korean won traded 1,190 per dollar, weaker than levels around 1185 seen against the greenback yesterday.

The South Korean central bank’s decision followed a similar move by the Reserve Bank of New Zealand on Wednesday.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index shed 0.21%. Shares of developer Kaisa Group soared more than 12% as they resumed trading. Kaisa on Thursday announced an offer to bondholders to exchange their existing bonds with new bonds that have an extended maturity.

Mainland Chinese stocks were muted, with both the Shanghai composite and Shenzhen component trading close to the flatline.

Elsewhere in Japan, the Nikkei 225 gained 0.61% while the Topix index advanced 0.33%.

Australian stocks wavered between positive and negative territory, with the S&P/ASX 200 last sitting fractionally lower.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded 0.16% lower.

Overnight stateside, the S&P 500 climbed 0.23% to 4,701.46 while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite advanced 0.44% to 15,845.23. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lagged, dipping 9.42 points to 35,804.38.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 96.755 following its climb from levels below 96.5 earlier in the week.

The Japanese yen traded at 115.35 per dollar, weaker than levels below 114.5 seen against the greenback earlier this week. The Australian dollar was at $0.7204, still off levels above $0.724 seen earlier in the trading week.

Oil prices were higher in the morning of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up 0.22% to $82.43 per barrel. U.S. crude futures gained 0.14% to $78.50 per barrel.

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