Asia Markets

Asia stocks edge higher in lackluster trade

Key Points
  • Asia stocks edged higher on Thursday, as markets in Australia and Hong Kong remained closed a day after the Christmas holiday.

Stocks in Asia edged higher in lackluster trade on Thursday a day after Christmas, as markets in Australia and Hong Kong remained closed for the holiday.

Mainland Chinese stocks rose on the day, with the Shanghai composite up 0.85% to around 3,007.35 and the Shenzhen component adding 0.72% to 10,303.72. The Shenzhen composite also gained 0.721% to about 1,709.45.

The Nikkei 225 in Japan was closed 0.6% higher at 23,924.92 while the Topix index added 0.57% to finish the trading day at 1,731.20.

South Korea's Kospi also gained, ending 0.36% higher at 2,197.93 as shares of chipmaker SK Hynix jumped about 1%.

Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index was 0.11% higher.

Major markets across the region — including Hong Kong, South Korea and Australia — were closed on Wednesday for Christmas.

The market moves followed another muted session on Wall Street Tuesday, on Christmas Eve, which saw the Nasdaq Composite rising slightly to touch a new record high of 8,952.88. It was the first time since 1998 that the index posted its ninth uninterrupted record close. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 36.08 points to close at 28,515.45, while the S&P 500 ended its trading day little changed at 3,223.38.

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 97.650 after seeing an earlier low of 97.609.

The Japanese yen traded at 109.54 per dollar after seeing an earlier high of 109.31. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6929 after touching an earlier low of $0.6915.

Oil prices rose in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures adding 0.28% to $67.39 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also gained 0.28% to $61.28 per barrel.