Asian stocks meander as investors digest US, Japan data

Published: May 17, 2018 12:53:04 | Updated: May 19, 2018 10:45:31

File Photo (Reuters)

Asian stocks were mixed on Thursday after strong factory data from the US helped spur gains overnight on Wall Street.

Investors shrugged off a report Thursday of weak machinery orders in Japan a day after growth data came in lower than expected, with the Nikkei 225 index jumping 0.7 per cent by midday to 22,868.77.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng was almost unchanged at 31,097.96 and the Kospi in South Korea was flat, at 2,458.90. Australia's S&P ASX 200 dipped 0.3 per cent to 6,088.40.

The Shanghai Composite index fell 0.2 per cent to 3,162.23. Shares were mixed in Southeast Asia.

US stock markets finished higher on Wednesday, led by tech and heath care stocks. The S&P 500 index rose 0.4 per cent to 2,722.46. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 0.3 per cent to 24,768.93.

The Nasdaq composite added 0.6 per cent to 7,398.30. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks finished 1.0 per cent higher at 1,616.37.

Benchmark US crude oil added 26 cents to $71.75 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Wednesday, it finished at $71.49 a barrel, up 18 cents.

Brent crude, used to price international oil, gained 8 cents to $79.36 per barrel in London. It rose 85 cents to close at $79.28 a barrel in the previous session.

The dollar fell to 110.18 yen from 110.39 yen while the euro strengthened to $1.1827 from $1.1809.

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