Asia-Pacific stocks nudge higher as investors monitor Chinese tech stocks

SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia-Pacific edged higher in Friday morning trade, as investors await the market open in Hong Kong to watch for reaction in regulation-hit sectors such as video games and private education.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 rose 0.3% while the Topix index advanced 0.38%. South Korea’s Kospi edged 0.33% higher.

The S&P/ASX 200 in Australia gained 0.44%.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded 0.1% higher.

Regulatory concerns surrounding sectors such as video games and private education could continue weighing on Chinese stocks in Hong Kong on Friday.

The South China Morning Post on Thursday reported that the Chinese government will suspend approvals for new online games in the country, sending gaming stocks tumbling. After the market close, however, the media outlet corrected the report to instead say regulators will slow the approvals process.

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Meanwhile, the European Central Bank announced Thursday a slowing in the pace of net asset purchases under its pandemic emergency purchase program.

Overnight on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 151.69 points to 34,879.38 while the S&P 500 shed 0.46% to 4,493.28. The Nasdaq Composite dipped 0.25% to 15,248.25.

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 92.529 after falling earlier in the week from above 92.7.

The Japanese yen traded at 109.75 per dollar, stronger than levels around 110.4 seen against the greenback earlier this week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7368 following a decline from above $0.744 seen earlier in the trading week.

Oil prices were lower in the morning of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures slipping fractionally to $71.39 per barrel. U.S. crude futures declined 0.15% to $68.04 per barrel.

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