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Asia-Pacific stocks nudge higher as Chinese video game stocks bounce back

SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia-Pacific edged higher in Friday morning trade, as investors monitored Hong Kong-listed stocks of firms in regulation-hit sectors such as video games.

In Friday morning trade, shares of Tencent in Hong Kong jumped 2.33% while Netease gained 3.96% — a partial recovery after the heavy losses seen Thursday.

The South China Morning Post on Thursday reported that the Chinese government will suspend approvals for new online games in the country, sending gaming stocks tumbling. After the market close, however, the media outlet corrected the report to instead say regulators will slow the approvals process.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong-listed shares of embattled Chinese property developer China Evergrande Group slid 0.85% as concerns remain around the firm’s debt situation.

The broader Hang Seng index in Hong Kong jumped 1.1%, following its more than 2% decline on Thursday. Mainland Chinese stocks edged higher, with the Shanghai composite rising about 0.4% while the Shenzhen component hovered above the flatline.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 rose 0.54% while the Topix index advanced 0.79%. South Korea’s Kospi edged 0.12% higher.

The S&P/ASX 200 in Australia gained 0.39%.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded 0.42% higher.

Meanwhile, the European Central Bank announced Thursday a slowing in the pace of net asset purchases under its pandemic emergency purchase program.

Overnight on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 151.69 points to 34,879.38 while the S&P 500 shed 0.46% to 4,493.28. The Nasdaq Composite dipped 0.25% to 15,248.25.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 92.543 after falling earlier in the week from above 92.7.

The Japanese yen traded at 109.73 per dollar, stronger than levels around 110.4 seen against the greenback earlier this week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7363 following a decline from above $0.744 seen earlier in the trading week.

Oil prices were lower in the morning of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures slipping 0.17% to $71.33 per barrel. U.S. crude futures declined 0.18% to $68.02 per barrel.

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