Asia Mixed as New Zealand Hikes Rates

Asia-Pacific markets were mixed on Wednesday as Wall Street digested a key U.S. labour report that showed job openings dropped to their lowest level in nearly two years in February.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 dropped 474.16 points, or 1.7%, to 27,813.26, even as the economy saw its services sector expanding for the seventh straight month.

New Zealand’s central bank raised its benchmark cash rate by 50 basis points to 5.25%, with the New Zealand dollar strengthening by nearly 0.9% following the decision.

Singapore stocks gained as investors further digested its retail sales for February, which came in 12.7% higher year-on-year.

Markets in Hong Kong, Taiwan and mainland China were shuttered for holiday.

In other markets

In Singapore, the Straits Times nosed ahead 7.75 points, or 0.2%, to 3,318.87.

In Korea, the Kospi gained 14.7 points, or 0.6%, to 2,495.21.

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 dumped 31.73 points, or 0.3%, to 11,866.83.

In Australia, the ASX 200 nicked up 1.19 points to 7,237.21.