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Equities mixed as dollar remains firm in Asia trade

Asia Pacific equities were mixed on Wednesday as the dollar held onto gains following strong US retail sales data and fears over geopolitical tensions between the US and North Korea continued to recede.

Australia’s S&P ASX 200 was down 0.2 per cent amid a flurry of earnings releases. Woodside Petroleum jumped as much as 5.6 per cent after the company reported a 49 per cent increase in net profit in the first half of the year. Fairfax Media rose as much as 2.5 per cent after the company released its full-year results and outlined plans to retain 60 per cent of property classifieds business Domain after it spins off the unit.

The Topix was 0.1 per cent higher in Japan as the industrials sector gained 0.3 per cent while the consumer discretionary sector slipped by the same amount. South Korea’s Kospi was up 0.7 per cent after a public holiday on Tuesday.

In Hong Kong the Hang Seng was up 0.4 per cent as index heavyweight Tencent rose 1.2 per cent ahead of its first-half earnings release, expected after market close.

The S&P 500 was 0.1 per cent lower at the close of trade in New York.

The dollar index, which tracks the currency against six of its peers, was flat at 93.825 after strengthening on Tuesday after US retail sales data for July came in above expectations.