SINGAPORE — Stocks in Asia-Pacific were higher on Wednesday, as a private survey showed slowing growth in China’s services sector activity last month.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index led gains among the region’s major markets, jumping 2.7% to close at 29,880.42. Shares of Chinese banks listed in the city saw strong gains: China Construction Bank gained 5.61%, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China surged 5.81% and Bank of China rose 4.09%.
Mainland Chinese stocks also rose on the day as the Shanghai composite gained 1.95% to 3,576.90 while the Shenzhen component advanced 1.229% to about 14,932.39.
The Caixin/Markit services Purchasing Managers’ Index came in at 51.5 for February, a decline from January’s reading of 52. PMI readings above 50 represent expansion while those below that level signify contraction. PMI readings are sequential and show on-month expansion or contraction.
Elsewhere, the S&P/ASX 200 in Australia edged 0.82% higher to close at 6,818.
Australia’s gross domestic product rose 3.1% in seasonally adjusted chain volumes terms in the December quarter, according to figures released by the country’s Bureau of Statistics. That figure beat expectations for a 2.5% rise by economists in a Reuters poll and followed a 3.4% growth in the third quarter.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 closed 0.51% higher at 29,559.10 while the Topix index also gained 0.51% to finish its trading day at 1,904.54. South Korea’s Kospi climbed 1.29% to close at 3,082.99.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan gained 1.68%.
Wall Street overnight
Currencies and oil
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 90.788 — off levels above 91 seen earlier in the week.
The Japanese yen traded at 106.86 per dollar, still weaker than levels below 105.7 against the greenback seen last week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7824, following levels around $0.774 seen yesterday.
Oil prices rose in the afternoon of Asia trading hours on Wednesday, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up 0.26% to $62.86 per barrel. U.S. crude futures rose 0.25% to $59.9 per barrel.
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— CNBC’s Kevin Breuninger contributed to this report.
Hong Kong soars nearly 3% as Asia-Pacific markets rise – CNBC