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China stocks continue to lead gains among Asia Pacific markets

Shares in Asia Pacific were mostly higher in Thursday morning trade as Chinese inflation data for June was released.

Mainland Chinese stocks, which have already seen a strong performance so far this week, continued to lead gains among the region’s major markets. The Shanghai composite gained 0.9% in morning trade while the Shenzhen component advanced 1.379%.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index added 0.74%.

Elsewhere, the Nikkei 225 in Japan rose 0.27% in morning trade as shares of conglomerate Softbank Group soared more than 5%. The Topix index, however, slipped 0.26%.

Over in South Korea, the Kospi advanced 0.52%. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.89%.

Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index traded 0.73% higher.

The moves regionally came following the release of China’s June inflation data.The producer price index slipped 3% year-on-year, according to data from China’s National Bureau of Statistics. Meanwhile, the consumer price index rose 2.5% as compared with a year ago.

The coronavirus pandemic also likely continued weighing on investor sentiment as the number of cases in the U.S. surpassed the 3 million mark, according to Johns Hopkins University. As cases and deaths rise, data compiled by Apple Maps shows driving activity is slowing down across the country, which could be a warning sign for the economic comeback. 

Globally, more than 11.88 million people have been infected while at least 545,398 lives have been taken, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Overnight on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 177.10 points higher, or 0.7%, at 26,067.28. The S&P 500 added 0.8% to finish its trading day at 3,169.94 while the Nasdaq Composite advanced 1.2% to 10,492.50, notching a record closing high.

Meanwhile, St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard told CNBC that unemployment stateside could fall to as low as 7% this year. The current jobless level in the U.S. is at a post-World War II high of 11.1%.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 96.457 after declining from levels above 96.8 yesterday.

The Japanese yen traded at 107.33 per dollar after strengthening from levels around 107.7 yesterday. The Australian dollar was at $0.6979 after rising from levels below $0.696 yesterday.

Oil prices were lower in the morning of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures down slightly to $43.27 per barrel. U.S. crude futures slipped 0.15% to $40.84 per barrel.

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