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Japan’s Nikkei 225 closes 3% higher as SoftBank Group shares surge 7%

SINGAPORE — Shares in Japan led gains among major Asia-Pacific markets in Wednesday trade, as investors monitored oil prices and continued to assess the outlook for U.S. Federal Reserve monetary policy.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 2.65% as shares of SoftBank Group jumped 7.38% while Fast Retailing climbed more than 4%. The Topix index advanced 2.1%.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index surged 1.73%. Shares of Xiaomi soared 6.06% after the firm announced Tuesday plans to repurchase shares in the open market “from time to time” at a maximum aggregate price of 10 billion Hong Kong dollars ($1.28 billion). Xiaomi on Tuesday also announced a 21.4% year-over-year rise in its fourth-quarter revenue.

Shares of Chinese tech giant Tencent also jumped 2.68%, ahead of its fourth-quarter and annual results announcement expected later on Wednesday. The Hang Seng Tech index gained 3.23%.

Mainland Chinese stocks were mixed, with the Shanghai composite dipping 0.14% and the Shenzhen component rising 0.244%.

South Korea’s Kospi gained 0.43%. Over in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 climbed 0.56%.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded 0.89% higher.

Oil watch

Investors monitored moves in the oil markets, with sources telling CNBC that the European Union is unlikely to impose an immediate oil embargo on Russia over its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.

In the afternoon of Asia trading hours on Wednesday, international benchmark Brent crude futures rose 1.58% to $117.31 per barrel. U.S. crude futures climbed 1.56% to $110.98 per barrel.

Oil prices slipped on Tuesday after gains in the past few days, though Brent continues sitting above the $100 per barrel mark that it fell below last week.

Overnight on Wall Street, the S&P 500 climbed 1.13% to 4,511.61. The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 254.47 points, or 0.74%, to 34,807.46. The Nasdaq Composite surged 1.95% to 14,108.82.

Markets will continue to assess the outlook for U.S. Federal Reserve policy.

U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said earlier this week that the central bank is set to take tough action on inflation, with traders now betting the Fed will drive up interest rates even faster than expected just last week.

Currencies

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 98.482 following a recent drop from above 98.8.

The Japanese yen traded at 121.13 per dollar, weaker than levels below 120 seen against the greenback yesterday. The Australian dollar was at $0.7455, largely holding on to gains after yesterday’s rise from around $0.738.

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