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Asia-Pacific markets rise; JD shares in Hong Kong dive after Tencent says it will dilute stake

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SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia-Pacific largely rose in Thursday morning trade, as fears over the omicron Covid variant eased.

Hong Kong-listed shares of Chinese e-commerce titan JD.com plunged 9.1% while Tencent surged 2.17%. Those moves came after Tencent announced it will distribute majority of its shares in JD.com to its shareholders, effectively diluting its stake in the e-commerce firm from around 17% to approximately 2.3%.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index lagged the broader region, slipping 0.1%.

Mainland Chinese stocks were higher, with the Shanghai composite up nearly 0.1% while the Shenzhen component climbed 0.256%. Investors will continue monitoring Covid developments after the Chinese city of Xi’an ordered its 13 million residents to stay at home as it deals with rising Covid cases, according to Reuters.

The Nikkei 225 in Japan nudged 0.38% higher while the Topix index gained 0.44%. South Korea’s Kospi climbed 0.28%.

Elsewhere, the S&P/ASX 200 in Australia gained 0.36%.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded 0.28% higher.

Overnight stateside, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 261.19 points to 35,753.89 while the S&P 500 rose 1.02% to 4,696.56. The Nasdaq Composite jumped 1.18% to 15,521.89.

Those gains on Wall Street came after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday granted authorization for Pfizer’s Covid treatment pill, the first oral antiviral drug cleared during the pandemic.

Currencies

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 96.041 after a recent slide from above 96.3.

The Japanese yen traded at 114.13 per dollar after weakening earlier this week from levels below 113.6 against the greenback. The Australian dollar was at $0.7206 after yesterday’s surge from around $0.712.

Oil prices were higher in the morning of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up 0.35% to $75.55 per barrel. U.S. crude futures advanced 0.38% to $73.04 per barrel.

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