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Hong Kong and Taiwan jump 1% as Asia-Pacific stocks rise; bitcoin bounces back

SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia-Pacific were higher in Thursday morning trade, with markets in Japan closed for a holiday.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was among the biggest gainers regionally, rising 1.19% in early trade. The Taiex in Taiwan also gained 1.01%.

Mainland Chinese stocks edged higher, with the Shanghai composite climbing about 0.1% while the Shenzhen component rose fractionally.

South Korea’s Kospi gained 0.92% in morning trade.

Elsewhere, the S&P/ASX 200 in Australia advanced 0.74%. Shares of major miner BHP soared nearly 3% after the firm announced Thursday the signing of a nickel supply agreement with Tesla.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded 0.78% higher.

Still, concerns over the coronavirus situation in Asia-Pacific may continue to weigh on regional sentiment on Thursday. Australia’s two largest states on Wednesday reported sharp increases in new Covid infections, while Indonesia saw record high deaths from the virus, according to Reuters.

Markets in Japan are closed on Thursday for a holiday.

Meanwhile, the price of bitcoin rebounded after recently falling below the $30,000 mark. It traded at $31,971.17 as of 9:37 p.m. ET Wednesday, according to Coin Metrics.

Overnight stateside, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 286.01 points to 34,798 while the S&P 500 rose 0.82% to 4,358.69. The Nasdaq Composite advanced 0.92% to 14,631.95.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 92.824 after a recent fall from above 93.

The Japanese yen traded at 110.13 per dollar, weaker than levels below 109.5 seen against the greenback earlier this week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7345, still above levels below $0.732 seen yesterday.

Oil prices were lower in the morning of Asia trading hours on Thursday, with international benchmark Brent crude futures falling 0.36% to $71.97 per barrel. U.S. crude futures slipped 0.31% to $70.08 per barrel.

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