• Markets in China returned to trade on Friday from holidays.
  • China’s Caixin/Markit services Purchasing Managers’ Index for September came in at 54.8, above the 50 level that separates expansion and contraction.
  • Markets in South Korea and Taiwan are closed on Friday for holidays.
  • Overnight stateside, the Dow Jones Industrial Average touched its highest level in a month.

SINGAPORE — Stocks in mainland China surged as they returned to trade on Friday from holidays.

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The Shanghai composite jumped 1.89% while the Shenzhen component gained 3.195% by the afternoon.

The moves came as a private survey showed services sector activity in China expanding in September. The Caixin/Markit services Purchasing Managers’ Index for September came in at 54.8. PMI readings above 50 signify expansion, while those below that level indicate contraction.

Data out of China has been watched for clues on the state of the country’s economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

Over in Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index was fractionally higher. Shares of biopharmaceutical startup Everest Medicines jumped more than 35% from their issue price by the afternoon in their market debut day in the city.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 dipped 0.32% while the Topix index was 0.59% lower.

Meanwhile, shares in Australia advanced, with the S&P/ASX 200 up 0.15%.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan gained 0.36%.

Markets in South Korea and Taiwan are closed on Friday for holidays.

Investor focus was also likely be on ongoing developments regarding potential new fiscal stimulus stateside. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin spoke on Thursday about a broad coronavirus stimulus plan, after U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out of talks earlier in the week and called for stand-alone bills. 

Overnight stateside, the Dow Jones Industrial Average touched its highest level in a month. The index closed 122.05 points higher, or 0.4%, at 28,425.51. The S&P 500 gained 0.8% to end its trading day at 3,446.83 while the Nasdaq Composite added 0.5% to close at 11,420.98.

The moves came as the latest U.S. weekly jobless claims data on Thursday showed an additional 840,000 Americans filed for unemployment benefits for the first time. That compared against expectations by economists polled by Dow Jones of of 825,000 first-time claims for unemployment insurance for the week ending Oct. 3.

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 93.448 after seeing levels around 93.9 earlier this week.

The Japanese yen traded at 105.84 per dollar. having weakened this week from levels below 105.6 against the greenback. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7179, in a week that has seen it bouncing from levels below $0.712.

Oil prices slipped in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures down 0.42% to $43.16 per barrel. U.S. crude futures were also 0.41% lower at $41.02 per barrel.

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