- Australia's unemployment rate for March came in at 5.6%, according to seasonally adjusted estimates released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics on Thursday, against expectations of a 5.7% reading in a Reuters poll.
- A U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention panel decided Wednesday to postpone a decision on Johnson and Johnson's Covid-19 vaccine following the development of a rare but potentially life-threatening blood-clotting disorder in six women.
SINGAPORE — Stocks in Asia-Pacific were mixed on Thursday, with Australia's jobs data for March beating expectations.
Taiwan's Taiex surged 1.25% on Thursday to close at 17,076.73, leading gains among the region's major markets.
In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.51% to close at 7,058.60.
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Australia's unemployment rate for March came in at 5.6%, according to seasonally adjusted estimates released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) on Thursday, against expectations of a 5.7% reading in a Reuters poll. Data from the ABS also showed 70,700 net new jobs being created in March, more than double the forecast in a Reuters poll for a 35,000 rise.
Mainland Chinese stocks slipped on the day, with the Shanghai composite down 0.52% to 3,398.99 while the Shenzhen component declined 0.42% to 13,680.27. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index fell around 0.5%, as of its final hour of trading.
Elsewhere in Japan, the Nikkei 225 advanced fractionally to close at 29,642.69 while the Topix index gained 0.36% to end the trading day at 1,959.13. South Korea's Kospi closed 0.38% higher at 3,194.33.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan gained 0.2%.
In coronavirus developments, a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention panel decided Wednesday to postpone a decision on Johnson and Johnson's Covid-19 vaccine following the development of a rare but potentially life-threatening blood-clotting disorder in six women.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration asked states to temporarily halt using J&J's Covid-19 vaccine "out of an abundance of caution."
All that comes as authorities globally are racing to inoculate their populations as the virus continues to spread, with the World Health Organization warning Monday that the trajectory of the pandemic is "growing exponentially."
Overnight on Wall Street, the S&P 500 shed 0.41% to close at 4,124.66 while the Nasdaq Composite declined about 1% to finish its trading day at 13,857.84. The Dow Jones Industrial Average nudged 53.62 points higher, closing at 33,730.89.
Currencies and oil
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 91.543 following its decline from above 92.1 earlier in the week.
The Japanese yen traded at 108.83 per dollar, stronger than levels above 109.6 against the greenback seen earlier this week. The Australian dollar was at $0.7751, having climbed from levels below $0.765 yesterday.
Oil prices nudged lower in the afternoon of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures falling fractionally to $66.55 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also declined slightly to $63.11.