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Asia-Pacific stocks set to rise; Ant Group denies report that its exploring ways for Ma to exit – CNBC

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SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia-Pacific traded mixed on Monday morning, with investors watching Alibaba’s stock in Hong Kong following yet another development between affiliate Ant Group and billionaire Jack Ma.

Hong Kong-listed shares of Alibaba slipped 1.7% in Monday morning trade. That came after Ant Group said in a tweet that a recent report by Reuters that the firm was looking at ways for Jack Ma to exit were “untrue and baseless.”

Reuters reported over the weekend that financial technology giant Ant is “exploring options” for Ma to divest his stake in the firm and “give up control,” citing “a source familiar with regulators’ thinking and two people with close ties to the company.”

Other Hong Kong-listed shares of Chinese tech firms also declined, with Tencent falling about 1% while Meituan shed 0.83%. The Hang Seng TECH index slipped 0.84%.

The broader Hang Seng index in the city also declined 0.5%.

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Mainland Chinese stocks edged lower as the Shanghai composite slipped 0.25% and the Shenzhen component fell 0.186%.

Elsewhere, the Nikkei 225 in Japan dipped 0.23% while the Topix index shed 0.26%. Japan’s exports in March surged 16.1% as compared with a year earlier, Ministry of Finance data showed Monday. That was much higher than the 11.6% increase expected by economists in a Reuters poll.

Meanwhile, South Korea’s Kospi gained 0.21% while the S&P/ASX 200 in Australia rose 0.28%.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded 0.3% lower.

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 91.709 after a recent decline from above 91.8.

The Japanese yen traded at 108.69 per dollar, stronger than levels above 109.2 against the greenback seen last week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7709, having risen from below $0.768 last week.

Oil prices dipped in the morning of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures down about 0.8% to $66.24 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also slipped 0.7% to $62.69 per barrel.

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