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South Korea is up greater than three% as Asia Pacific markets rise

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SINGAPORE – Asia Pacific stocks rose Thursday after the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose to a record high overnight.

South Korea’s Kospi posted regional gains with an increase of 2.75%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index also posted robust gains, as it rose 2.15% in the afternoon.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 was up 1.6% as stocks in the conglomerate SoftBank Group rose more than 4%. The Topix index also gained 1.4%.

Mainland China stocks were higher in the afternoon, as the Shanghai composite gained about 1% while the Shenzhen component gained 0.772%.

The S & P / ASX 200 in Australia was up 1.09%.

The broadest MSCI index for stocks in the Asia-Pacific region outside of Japan rose 1.74%.

Stocks in motion

The shares of South Korean chip maker SK Hynix rose around 7% on Thursday.

The moves came after Nvidia reported fourth-quarter earnings and sales that exceeded analysts’ heightened expectations on the backdrop of a global semiconductor shortage that hit sectors from games to cars.

Meanwhile, the stock of Japanese automaker Suzuki Motor fell 3%. The company announced on Wednesday that Chairman Osamu Suzuki will step down from office in June and become a senior advisor.

Standard Chartered Earnings

On the earnings side, Standard Chartered Bank reported pretax profit of $ 1.61 billion in 2020, a 57% decrease from the previous year. That number is below the average of the bank’s analyst forecast of $ 1.85 billion, according to Reuters.

However, Bill Winters, CEO of Standard Chartered Bank Group, said the “outlook is good”.

“While COVID-19 caused the fastest and sharpest economic collapse any of us has ever seen, recovery expectations have also exceeded previous recessions in speed and extent. We are in a great position to capitalize on it,” Winters said.

Standard Chartered’s Hong Kong-listed stocks rose 0.18% ahead of earnings release.

On Tuesday, rival HSBC reported net income that exceeded expectations and announced a dividend payout for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic.

Overnight in the US, the Dow jumped 424.51 points to a record high of 31,961.86. The S&P 500 was up 1.1% to end its trading day at 3,925.40 while the Nasdaq Composite was up 1% at 13,597.97.

The moves on Wall Street came when Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell further downplayed the inflation threat, saying it could be three years before the central bank’s target was consistently achieved.

Speaking to the House Financial Services Committee Wednesday, Powell said inflation could be volatile as the economy reopens and demand increases. Still, the Fed chairman doesn’t expect inflation to get hot and said the central bank has tools to fight it if it does.

Currencies and oil

The US dollar index, which tracks the greenback versus a basket of its peers, stood at 89.987 – still weaker than last week’s 90.8.

The Japanese yen traded at 105.92 per dollar after weakening from below 105.6 yesterday. The Australian dollar changed hands at $ 0.7967, stronger than it was below $ 0.784 last week.

Oil prices were mixed in the afternoon session in Asia. The international benchmark’s Brent crude oil futures rose 0.12% to $ 67.12 a barrel. US crude oil futures were below the flatline as they were trading at $ 63.20 a barrel.

– CNBC’s Yun Li contributed to this report.

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Katherine Clark