SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia-Pacific were largely higher in Thursday trade as U.S. stocks bounced back overnight. Oil prices, however, continued to move higher following a price surge in recent days.
A private survey released Thursday showed slowing Chinese services activity growth in February, with the Caixin/Markit services Purchasing Managers’ Index coming in at 50.2 for that month. That compared against January’s reading of 51.4.
The 50-point mark in PMI readings separates growth from contraction. PMI readings are sequential and represent month-on-month expansion or contraction.
In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 advanced 0.73%.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded 0.54% higher.
Brent briefly tops $118
Investors continued monitoring movements in the oil market, with crude prices spiking to their highest level in years on Wednesday, amid Russia’s escalating war on Ukraine.
In the morning of Asia trading hours, international benchmark Brent crude futures surged 3.09% to $116.42 per barrel, after earlier rising as high as $118.22 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also climbed 2.43% to $113.29 per barrel.
OPEC and its allies decided Wednesday to hold production steady despite the recent dramatic spike in oil prices.
Overnight on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average surged 596.40 points to 33,891.35. The S&P 500 gained 1.86% to 4,386.54 while the Nasdaq Composite advanced 1.62% to 13,752.02.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 97.519 — still higher as compared with levels below 96.6 seen last week.
The Japanese yen traded at 115.64 per dollar, having weakened yesterday from below 115.2 against the greenback. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7285, largely holding on to gains from its climb below $0.72 earlier in the week.