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Chinese tech stocks in Hong Kong erase some gains; Australian mining stocks rise

SINGAPORE — Asia-Pacific stocks were mixed on Wednesday, as optimism continued to drive U.S. stocks, with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq reaching record highs overnight.

Chinese stocks were subdued in the morning. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index slipped 0.39% after jumping earlier.

Chinese tech stocks listed in Hong Kong pared morning gains, losing steam after their Tuesday rally. Tencent shares edged down 0.13% after jumping 3% earlier. Food delivery giant Meituan was up 2.52%, popped 3.36%, while Alibaba lost over 2% reversing morning gains.

The Shanghai composite was up 0.34%, and the Shenzhen component was down 0.28%.

On Tuesday, the country’s cybersecurity regulator said Chinese companies that wish to go public — including those planning to list overseas — must comply with two main aspects of a wider set of regulations. Those remarks come as policy uncertainty this summer has essentially halted Chinese listings in the U.S., after a surge in overseas offerings earlier this year.

Other Asia-Pacific markets rise

The Nikkei 225 in Japan was just under the flatline, while the Topix rose marginally.

Over in South Korea, the Kospi dipped 0.31%.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 was up 0.18%.

Iron ore prices soared, giving mining stocks a boost. They shot up almost 9% on Tuesday, according to Vivek Dhar, commodities analyst at Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

Mining stocks in Australia jumped in the morning. Rio Tinto jumped 3%, and Fortescue Metals was up 2.88%. BHP rose 1.56%.

Meanwhile, Covid fears continue to dominate Australia as Sydney’s cases hit a new daily record on Wednesday putting parts of the health system under “severe pressure,” officials said, according to Reuters.

Optimism from the full Food and Drug Administration approval of the Pfizer Covid vaccine continued to lift U.S. markets overnight.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 30.55 points, or less than 0.1%, to 35,366.26. The S&P 500 added 0.1% to a new closing high of 4,486.23. The Nasdaq Composite gained 0.5% to 15,019.80, also a new closing high.

Chinese stocks led the Nasdaq as investors gain more clarity on China’s regulatory outlook and buy shares of names that have taken a beating lately.

“Markets are still basking in the glow of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine having received regulatory approval on Monday, which is paving the way for organisations to mandate vaccines for workers and thus lift vaccination rates higher,” Tapas Strickland, director of economics and markets at the National Australia Bank, wrote in a note.

“China’s delta outbreak also appears to be under control with two consecutive days of no new domestic cases … while the PBoC vowed to boost credit support for smaller businesses and the real economy,” he said.

Oil prices pare gains

Following a 3% jump on Tuesday as vaccine optimism also lifted commodities, oil prices fell in the morning during Asia hours.

International benchmark Brent crude futures was down 0.46% to $70.72 per barrel. U.S. crude futures fell 0.53% to $67.18.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, rose to 93.009, from levels above 92 earlier in the session.

The Japanese yen traded at 109.75 per dollar, weaker than levels above 109.6 seen yesterday. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7242, a touch higher than levels above $0.722 yesterday.

— CNBC’s Evelyn Cheng, Yun Li contributed to this report.

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