SINGAPORE — Stocks in Asia-Pacific struggled for direction in Thursday trade as investors reacted to minutes released overnight from the U.S. Federal Reserve’s November meeting.
Mainland Chinese stocks were lower by the afternoon: The Shanghai composite declined 0.13% while the Shenzhen component fell 0.897%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index twas little changed.
Stocks in Japan were higher, as the Nikkei 225 gained 0.47% while the Topix index rose 0.34%. South Korea’s Kospi advanced 0.2%.
Shares in Australia lagged, as the S&P/ASX 200 dipped 0.62%.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.17%.
The summary of the Fed meeting from earlier this month indicated that U.S. central bank officials discussed ways of getting more money into the economy, which is still recovering from the coronavirus pandemic.
JD Health seeks more than $3 billion in Hong Kong debut
JD Health, a unit of Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com, is looking to raise more than $3 billion in its Hong Kong debut.
JD Health is planning to sell 381.9 million shares at a range of 62.80 to 70.58 Hong Kong dollars ($8.10-$9.11), according to a filing with the Hong Kong stock exchange. The exercise of an over-allotment option to sell more stock could also bring the size of the IPO up to about $4 billion.
JD Health looks set to be Hong Kong’s biggest IPO of 2020, according to Reuters.
That development came after Ant Group’s highly-anticipated initial public offering in Shanghai and Hong Kong was abruptly suspended earlier in November. Shares of JD.com in Hong Kong were last 0.35% higher.
Currencies and oil
The Japanese yen traded at 104.32 per dollar, having seen levels below 104 against the greenback early this week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7364, above levels below $0.732 seen earlier in the week.
The Bank of Korea on Thursday held steady on its key policy rate at a record low of 0.5%, in line with expectations of economists in a Reuters poll.
Following that announcement, the Korean won traded at 1,105.79 per dollar, as compared to an earlier low of 1,107.30 against the greenback.
Oil prices were higher in the afternoon of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up about 0.4% to $48.82 per barrel. U.S. crude futures rose 0.31% to $45.85 per barrel.
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