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Japan stocks up 2%, Asia-Pacific markets close mixed after volatile session on Wall Street

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SINGAPORE — Asia-Pacific markets were mixed on Friday, following a volatile session on Wall Street overnight where investors reacted to comments from the Federal Reserve and U.S. GDP data.

The Nikkei 225 in Japan gained around 2.09% to close at 26,717.34 after falling nearly 3% on Thursday, while the Topix was up 1.8% at 1,876.89. South Korea’s Kospi reversed losses to rise 1.87%, and closed at 2,663.34.

Australia’s ASX 200 advanced 2.19% to end the session at 6,988.1.

Mainland Chinese markets inched up: the Shanghai Composite slid 0.97% to close at 3,361.44, while the Shenzhen Component declined 0.53% to 13,328.06.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index declined 1.07%.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan edged 0.19% higher.

The Taiwan market is closed for a holiday on Friday. Hong Kong is slated to release its GDP report for the fourth quarter on Friday afternoon.

Tech movers

SoftBank Group shares rose 2.20% after the Japanese conglomerate announced a management transition where Chief Operating Officer Marcelo Claure will leave the company after nine years. Claure, who was also CEO of SoftBank Group International and right-hand man to SoftBank boss Masayoshi Son, took over running WeWork after founder Adam Neumann stepped down.

CNBC reported on Claure’s departure on Thursday, citing sources familiar with the matter.

Michel Combes has been appointed CEO of SoftBank Group International, where he will oversee the company’s operating and investment portfolio.

Shares of Apple suppliers in Asia largely rose after the tech giant beat earnings estimates on Thursday stateside.

The tech-focused Hang Seng Tech index lost 1.6%. Some Hong Kong-listed Chinese tech giants fell: JD.com was down 2.84%, while Xiaomi shed 1.33%.

Stocks were volatile overnight on Wall Street as investors reacted to news from the Fed, as well as the newest GDP figures and corporate earnings.

U.S. gross domestic product grew 6.9% in the fourth quarter of 2021 compared to the year before, beating analyst expectations despite a surge in omicron cases.

Both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq retraced earlier gains to close lower, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up over 600 points at during intra-day trade, but closed almost flat at 34,160.78.

All three indexes are firmly in negative territory so far this month.

Spot gold slid to a two-week low of $1,790.20 on Thursday as the U.S. dollar rallied following signs that the Fed will hike interest rates soon, Reuters reported. It has since recovered and was last trading at $1,796 in Asia.

Elsewhere, the Kremlin said Russia’s views were not taken into account in U.S. security proposals. Tensions between the two sides have increased over Russia’s growing military presence along its border with Ukraine.

Oil prices pulled back from seven-year highs this week, but remain elevated over fears that energy supplies in Europe from Russia could be disrupted.

U.S. crude futures rose 0.68% during Asia trading hours to $87.20 per barrel, while Brent crude increased 0.64% to trade at $89.91 per barrel.

Currencies

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, last traded at 97.333, up from 97.225 earlier.

Meanwhile, the Japanese yen traded at 115.66 per dollar, while the Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7014, down slightly from $0.7031 earlier.

— CNBC’s Saheli Roy Choudhury, Hannah Miao, Tanaya Macheel, Jeff Cox and Holly Ellyatt contributed to this report.

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