SINGAPORE – Asia Pacific stocks were mixed in morning trade, with Australian employment data for March beating expectations.
In Australia, the S & P / ASX 200 fell 0.1%.
The unemployment rate in Australia was 5.6% in March, according to seasonally adjusted estimates by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) on Thursday, while a Reuters poll was expected to reach 5.7%. Data from the ABS also showed that 70,700 net new jobs were created in March, more than double what a Reuters poll projected for a 35,000 increase.
Mainland China stocks were down, with the Shanghai Composite falling 0.67% while the Shenzhen Component falling 0.713%.
Elsewhere in Japan, the Nikkei 225 was up 0.29% while the Topix index was up 0.52%. South Korea’s Kospi gained 0.27%.
MSCI’s broadest index for stocks in the Asia-Pacific region outside of Japan was down 0.19%.
With coronavirus development, a panel from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention decided on Wednesday to postpone a decision on Johnson and Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine after a rare but potentially life-threatening bleeding disorder in six women occurred.
On Tuesday, the US Food and Drug Administration urged states to temporarily stop using J & J’s Covid-19 vaccine “out of caution”.
All that comes when authorities around the world try to vaccinate their populations while the virus continues to spread. The World Health Organization warns on Monday that the course of the pandemic is “growing exponentially.”
On Wall Street overnight, the S&P 500 lost 0.41% to close at 4,124.66 while the Nasdaq Composite fell 1% to end its trading day at 13,857.84. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 53.62 points to close at 33,730.89.
Currencies and oil
The US dollar index, which tracks the greenback versus a basket of its peers, came in at 91.668 after falling above 92.1 earlier in the week.
The Japanese yen was trading at 108.86 per dollar, stronger than above 109.6 against the greenback earlier this week. The Australian dollar was trading at $ 0.7721 after rising below $ 0.765 yesterday.
Oil prices fell on the morning of Asian trading hours, with the international benchmark’s Brent crude oil futures falling 0.36% to $ 66.34 a barrel. The US crude oil futures were also down 0.46% to $ 62.86.