Mainland Chinese stocks lagged: The Shanghai composite dipped 0.22% while the Shenzhen component shed 0.768%. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan edged 0.26% higher. Hong Kong-listed shares of Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi fell 3.5%. The declines came despite the firm posting a roughly 19% year-over-year surge in its adjusted net profit for the three months ended Sept. 30.
Strong overnight gains on Wall Street likely lifted investor sentiment in Asia-Pacific on Wednesday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed above 30,000 for the first time as it gained 454.97 points to 30,046.24. The S&P 500 also saw a record close, rising 1.6% to 3,635.41. The Nasdaq Composite added 1.3% to finish its trading day at 12,036.79. Positive momentum in the race for a coronavirus vaccine has boosted global markets. Earlier this week, AstraZeneca announced that interim analysis showed its vaccine has an average efficacy of 70% in protecting against the virus. Uncertainty in U.S. politics has also eased after the Trump administration officially began the transition process to President-elect Joe Biden following weeks of delay.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 92.083 after seeing levels above 92.4 earlier in the week. The Japanese yen traded at 104.49 per dollar, having weakened from levels below 104 against the greenback this week. The Australian dollar was at $0.7356, following levels below $0.732 seen yesterday. Oil prices were higher in the afternoon of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up 1.27% to $48.47 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also gained 1.16% to $45.43 per barrel. Meanwhile, spot gold traded at $1,803.01 per ounce, following a recent slip from levels above $1,830 per ounce as risk sentiment improves.