Russia-Ukraine tensions, Australia jobs data

SINGAPORE — Stocks in Asia-Pacific were mixed on Thursday as investors continued to monitor the situation surrounding Ukraine.

The Nikkei 225 in Japan closed 0.83% lower at 27,232.87 while the Topix index shed 0.79% to 1,931.24.

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.

Mainland Chinese stocks finished the trading day higher, with the Shanghai composite rising fractionally to 3,468.04 and the Shenzhen component climbing 0.348% to 13,422.90. The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong hovered above the flatline, as of its final hour of trading.

Elsewhere, South Korea’s Kospi gained 0.53% to finish its trading day at 2,744.09.

Shares in Australia rose on the day, with the S&P/ASX 200 up 0.16% to 7,296.20.

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 climbed 0.38%.

Investors continued 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.

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https://www.cnbc.com/2022/02/17/asia-markets-australia-jobs-data-japan-economy-currencies-oil.html