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Asia Markets: Asia-Pacific markets mixed; BHP stock jumps after $10.5 billion deal

Asia-Pacific stock markets were mixed in early trading Friday.

Further declines in Chinese and Hong Kong stocks were joined by modest drops in Southeast Asian benchmarks, which barely rose Thursday. Korea’s Kospi continued to move little after Thursday’s outperformance while more-robust gains persisted in Japan, Australia, Taiwan and New Zealand.

Down Under led the gainers, with Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 XJO, +0.89% up 0.8% at midday amid strength in commodities and consumer-discretionary names. BHP Billiton BHP, +2.26% rose more than 2% after agreeing to sell the bulk of its U.S. oil and gas assets to BP for $10.5 billion, and Oil Search OSH, +2.18% rose almost as much.

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