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Foxconn earnings, Australian dollar, yen rise

SINGAPORE — Asia-Pacific stocks jumped in early trade on Thursday, as U.S. markets again notched highs after data showed inflation was not as bad as feared. The dollar weakened while Asian currencies rose.

The Nikkei 225 in Japan rose 0.58%, while the Topix was up 0.73%. In South Korea, the Kospi marginally rose.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.26%.

In earnings, Taiwan’s Hon Hai Precision Industry, better known as Foxconn, is due to report its second-quarter financial results Thursday.

Markets will continue to monitor the Covid situation in the region after the World Health Organization warned global cases could pass 300 million by early next year if the pandemic continues in its current direction. The projection came just a week after the WHO reported 200 million Covid cases worldwide and six months after the globe topped 100 million cases.

Meanwhile, South Korea reported a new daily record of more than 2,200 cases, its health minister said Wednesday, according to Reuters.

In Australia, Melbourne extended its lockdown by another week as it struggles to contain the highly infectious delta variant.

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 rose Wednesday after inflation jumped less than investors feared when stripping out volatile food and energy prices.

The 30-stock Dow gained 220.30 points, or 0.6%, to 35,484.97 to close at a new record. The S&P 500 traded up 0.2% to 4,447.70, also notching an all-time high. The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite slipped more than 0.1% to 14,765.14.

Asian currencies benefit from weaker dollar

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, fell to 92.889 from levels above 93.1 yesterday.

“The U.S. dollar traded lower against all of the major currencies after the U.S. inflation report showed consumer prices slowing in the month of July,” Kathy Lien, co-founder of 60Second Investor, wrote in a note.

The Australian and New Zealand dollars benefitted the most from U.S. dollar weakness and the risk-on rally, she said.

On Thursday morning, the Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7372, strengthening from levels above $0.732 seen yesterday. The New Zealand dollar was at 0.7041, from levels below 0.70 seen earlier in the week.

“The resilience of AUD is surprising with the government extending lockdowns in Sydney and Melbourne after the number of new COVID-19 cases in Sydney hit new record highs,” Lien wrote.

Meanwhile, the Japanese yen traded at 110.34, strengthening from levels above 110.7 the day before.

Oil prices little changed

Oil prices were little changed in the morning of Asia hours. Brent crude futures traded flat to $71.44 per barrel. U.S. crude futures was just below the flatline to trade at $69.24 per barrel.

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