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Asia-Pacific stocks appear mixed; omicron outcomes

Shares in Asia-Pacific appeared mixed in Wednesday trade as investors evaluated the impact of the new omicron Covid strain.
The Nikkei 225 in Japan fell 0.68%, while the Topix index also dropped 0.43%. South Korea’s Kospi declined by 0.93%.
Mainland Chinese stocks fell, with the Shanghai Composite decreasing 0.78% while the Shenzhen component fell 1.14%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index dropped 0.89%.
After Monday and Tuesday, Australian stocks, which went back to trade, increased as the S&P/ASX 200 bounced 1.27%. The Straits Times index in Singapore also accumulated 0.24%.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares dropped 0.28% outside Japan.
Investors in Asia-Pacific persisted in monitoring outcomes surrounding the omicron strain. An investigation from South Africa found the immune response of people infected with the omicron Covid variant. It seems to expand protection against delta four times more than the new strain.
Overnight stateside, the S&P 500 fell 0.2% to 4,786.36, falling from the record high on Monday. The Nasdaq Composite also dropped 0.57% to 15,781.73. The Dow Jones Industrial Average appeared to be outperforming, increasing 95.84 points to 36,398.22.

The U.S. dollar index is tracking the greenback against a basket of its peers. It was at 96.184 after a recent bounce from around 97.
The Japanese yen sold at 114.84 per dollar. It appeared still weaker than levels below 114.6, seen against the greenback earlier this Monday. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7233 following recent falls above $0.726.
During the afternoon of Asia trading hours, Oil prices appeared higher, with international benchmark Brent crude futures going up 0.2% to $79.03 per barrel. U.S. crude futures posed above the flatline, trading at around $76.02 per barrel. The situation is unpredictable and changes most of the time as the market opens the following trading hours.

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