Apple supplier shares in Asia; oil prices

SINGAPORE — Stocks across Asia-Pacific were mixed Friday morning as Wall Street stocks rallied overnight and oil prices fell.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was subdued, dipping 0.23%.

Shares of Hong Kong-listed Russian aluminum producer Rusal bucked the trend, and surged more than 10% in early trade before paring gains to trade about 1.5% higher. The stock tumblied earlier this week after the firm said Monday it was evaluating the impact of a ban announced Sunday by the Australian government on exports of alumina and aluminum ores to Russia.

Rusal shares in Moscow had shot up nearly 16% when markets resumed trading in Russia on Thursday after a month-long shutdown.

JD Logistics shares tumbled more than 10% in early trading. In a filing with the Hong Kong stock exchange in the morning, the firm said it will raise 8.53 billion Hong Kong dollars ($1.09 billion) through a share sale. The subsidiary of e-commerce giant JD.com said the shares will be priced at 20.71 Hong Kong dollars a piece.

Mainland China shares were little changed: the Shanghai composite and the Shenzhen component traded just above the flatline.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 was marginally higher, while the Topix rose 0.14%. Japan reported inflation data, showing its core consumer price index hit a two-year high in March, according to Reuters.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 stayed in positive territory as it inched up 0.44%, with some gains in miners. South Korean stocks turned around from an earlier dip, and the Kospi rose 0.2%. Some tech stocks were down, with SK Hynix falling 1.24%.

Top gainers in Asia morning trade include Japan’s Toshiba and Fanuc, which rose 2.3% and 1.3% respectively, as well as Singapore’s agricultural firm Olam which jumped nearly 4%.

Singapore’s Straits Times index was up 0.57%. Research firm Capital Economics and DBS Bank analysts said Friday they now expect Singapore’s central bank to tighten policy at its meeting next month after a major loosening of its Covid restrictions on Thursday.

“Yesterday’s easing of virus restrictions in Singapore exceeded what we had expected and now means the risks to our above-consensus growth forecast of 4.0% this year are to the upside,” said Alex Holmes, emerging Asia economist at the firm. “The measures are also likely to add to inflationary pressures, further increasing the chance that the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) will tighten policy at its meeting next month.”

US stocks rallied overnight, led by chip stocks. The Dow jumped 349.44 points, or 1%, to close at 34,707.94. The S&P 500 added 1.4% at 4,520.16, and the Nasdaq Composite rose 1.9% to 14,191.84.

Stocks have seenawed this week, alternating between up and down days. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq are on track to close the week higher.

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Currencies and oil

Oil prices were in focus, and fell almost 2% overnight after a volatile session. During Asia trade on Friday, US crude was down 0.15% to $112.17 per barrel, and Brent rose 0.08% to $119.13.

“[International Energy Agency] members are seeking to reduce their use of its crude,” said ANZ Research analysts Brian Martin and Daniel Hynes. They noted IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said the group is ready to release more oil from emergency stockpiles if needed.

Contributing to oil’s fall, Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries officials have also expressed to the EU their discomfort on a proposed ban on Russian oil, Reuters said citing OPEC sources.

In currencies, the US dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 98.608, dropping from levels around 98.7 earlier.

The Japanese yen traded at 121.82 per dollar, firmer compared to earlier. The Australian dollar was at $0.7515, as it continued to jump from levels around $0.74 earlier in the week.

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