SYDNEY, NSW, Australia - Shares in Australia and Japan made cautious gains on Thursday, while in mainland China and Hong Kong stocks were sold off.
China's central bank pumped cash into the financial system through open market operations Thursday to maintain liquidity in the market.
A total of 150 billion yuan (about 22.97 billion U.S. dollars) was injected into the market via a medium-term lending facility (MLF), according to the People's Bank of China, the central bank.
The funds will mature in one year at an interest rate of 2.95 percent. The operation included a rollover of MLF funds that are expected to mature Thursday and targeted medium-term lending facility funds that are going to mature on April 25, the central bank said.
Meanwhile, the central bank injected 10 billion yuan into the market through seven-day reverse repos at an interest rate of 2.2 percent.
The move was intended to maintain reasonable and ample liquidity in the banking system, the central bank said.
China's Shanghai Composite dropped 17.73 points or 0.52 percent to 3,398.99.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng declined 143.15 points or 0.50 percent to 28,757.68.
At the close, the Australian All Ordinaries index was ahead 36.90 points or 0.51 percent to 7,317.50.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 gained 21.70 points or 0.07 percent to 29,642.69.
The foreign exchange market was active. The stars were the commodity currencies again. The New Zealand dollar soared to 0.7170 by the close in Sydney Thursday. The Australian dollar rocketed up tp 0.7749. The Canadian dollar strengthened to 1.2490.
The euro was a fraction higher at 1.1976. The British pound firmed to 1.3792. The Japanese yen was steady at 109.87. The Swiss franc was unchanged at 0.9229.
Overnight on Wall Street, after earlier hitting a new intraday high, the Dow Jones finished ahead 53.62 points or 0.16 percent at 33,730.81.
The Standard and Poor's 500 slipped 16.93 points or 0.41 percent to 4,124.66.
The Nasdaq Composite shed 138.26 points or 0.99 percent to 13,857.84.