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James Hyerczyk
Asian Stock Indexes

The major Asia-Pacific stock indexes were higher on Thursday, led by fresh gains in China. European shares are also rising following a two-day setback. The price action indicates that investors are looking past simmering U.S.-China tensions and renewed coronavirus lockdowns to upcoming company earnings, hoping that global stimulus efforts will yield upbeat outlooks.

On Thursday, the Nikkei 225 Index settled at 22529.29, up 90.64 or +0.40%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index finished at 26210.16, up 80.98 or +0.31% and South Korea’s KOSPI Index closed at 2167.90, up 9.02 or +0.42%.

China’s Shanghai Index settled at 3450.59, up 47.15 or +1.39% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index finished at 5955.50, up 35.20 or +0.59%.

COVID-19 Update

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.

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China Reports Inflation Data

In fresh inflation data out of China early in the session, the country’s producer price index was down 3% year-on-year in June, compared to expectations for a 3.2% decline according to analysts polled by Reuters.

The consumer price index, meanwhile, fell in line with Reuters-polled expectations, rising 2.5% year-on-year for the month.

Australian Share Market Closes Higher

The Australian share market closed higher, after shares in Afterpay led a rally among tech stocks, while mining and energy stocks also boosted the market.

Mining and energy stocks led the broad-based rally. Technology shares surged, led by buy-now, pay-later operators Afterpay and Zip Co.

Corporate News

Rio Tinto said more than 2,000 jobs would go in New Zealand, as it announced plans to close its aluminum smelter in the country because of high power prices.

Meanwhile, Afterpay shares hit a fresh record high above $75 following an upgrade from Morgan Stanley. Analysts there raised their price target on the stock to $101, saying the company’s latest earnings were much stronger than expected.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

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