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Asia stocks slip; Ant Group gets approval to operate consumer finance firm

SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia-Pacific slipped in Friday morning trade, with investors monitoring Alibaba’s Hong Kong-listed stock following a major positive development for its affiliate Ant Group.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 fell 0.86% while the Topix index shed 0.51%. South Korea’s Kospi declined 0.44%.

Meanwhile, stocks in Australia declined, with the S&P/ASX 200 0.17% lower.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded 0.16% lower.

Investors will monitor Hong Kong-listed shares of Alibaba after Ant Group received approval to operate a consumer finance company. That marked a major positive development for Ant in the forced restructuring of its business months after its highly anticipated debut was abruptly shelved.

Looking ahead, the Reserve Bank of India is set to announce its interest rate decision at 2:15 p.m. HK/SIN on Friday.

Overnight on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped 23.34 points to 34,577.04. The S&P 500 dipped 0.36% to 4,192.85 while the Nasdaq Composite lagged, dropping 1.03% to 13,614.51.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 90.476 after a recent climb from below 90.3.

The Japanese yen traded at 110.32 per dollar, weaker than levels below 110 seen against the greenback yesterday. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7655, lower than levels above $0.772 seen earlier in the week.

Oil prices dipped in the morning of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures fractionally lower at $71.25 per barrel. U.S. crude futures traded slightly lower at $68.76 per barrel.

Here’s a look at what’s on tap:

  • India: Reserve Bank of India’s interest rate decision at 2:15 p.m. HK/SIN

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