Russia-Ukraine tensions, Australia jobs data
SINGAPORE — Stocks in Asia-Pacific were mixed in Thursday trade as investors continue to monitor the situation surrounding Ukraine.
The Nikkei 225 in Japan declined 0.96% while the Topix index shed 0.83%.
Japan’s January exports came in far below expectations, with official data released Thursday showing a 9.6% year-on-year rise for that month. That was against expectations by economists for a 16.5% gain, according to Reuters.
Elsewhere, South Korea’s Kospi gained 0.6%.
Shares in Australia rose, with the S&P/ASX 200 up 0.23%.
Australia added 12,900 jobs for January, data released Thursday showed. That was above market forecasts for a flat outcome, according to Reuters. The country’s unemployment rate held steady at 4.2%, according to figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in line with expectations from a Reuters poll.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded little changed.
Investors will continue to monitor Russia-Ukraine tensions, as NATO on Wednesday accused Russia of increasing the number of troops it has gathered at the Ukrainian border — a day after Moscow claimed it had begun withdrawing some of its military units.
A senior Biden administration official told reporters that as many as 7,000 troops have joined the 150,000 already near the border in recent days, according to a NBC News report.
Oil prices cut losses but remained in negative territory during the afternoon of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures 0.73% lower at $94.12 per barrel. U.S. crude futures shed 0.84% to $92.87 per barrel. Both crude benchmarks had earlier fallen more than 2% each.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 95.967 after seeing an earlier low of 95.749.