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Asia

Asian markets poised to open with moderate gains despite softer US lead

Major indexes in Asia looked set to open higher on Friday despite Wall Street closing with slight losses amid political concerns.

U.S. stocks closed lower on Thursday as investors focused on the likelihood of a government shutdown. That came despite corporates stateside posting solid quarterly earnings: As of Wednesday, 78 percent of S&P 500 companies that have reported topped expectations, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Still, the immediate focus for markets stateside remained a Friday deadline for the U.S. Congress to pass a stopgap funding bill.

In light of that, the Dow Jones industrial average declined 0.37 percent, or 97.84 points, to close at 26,017.81, the S&P 500 edged down 0.16 percent to finish at 2,798.03 and the Nasdaq composite inched lower by 0.03 percent to end at 7,296.05.

The dollar edged down ahead of the looming Friday deadline stateside. The dollar index, which tracks the U.S. currency against six major peers, traded at 90.497 at 6:59 a.m. HK/SIN after falling as low as 90.113 in the overnight session.

Weakness in the dollar saw the euro, British pound and yen higher on Thursday. The euro last traded at $1.2241 after rising as high as $1.2265 in the session.

The Australian dollar also rose to trade at $0.8002 at 6:56 a.m. HK/SIN.

In Asia Pacific equities, futures implied a slightly higher open for Japanese markets at the open. Nikkei futures traded in Chicago were up 0.26 percent at 23,825 and Osaka futures were 0.45 percent higher at 23,870 compared to the index’s last close.

Down Under, the S&P/ASX 200 advanced 0.17 percent in early trade.

Japan’s SoftBank Group on Thurday became Uber’s largest shareholder after it officially closed a high-profile deal with the ride-hailing company. The deal had valued Uber at around $48 billion, which was a discount to a previous valuation of nearly $70 billion.

Meanwhile, Ping An Insurance Group has raised almost $1 billion in funding ahead of a planned listing of a medical data unit, Reuters reported, citing sources. Ping An said in a Thursday statement that it was “proactively developing” technologies that supported its main business, but advised “caution when dealing in the securities” of the company.

Here’s the economic calendar for Friday (all times in HK/SIN):

  • 9:30 a.m.: China fourth-quarter industrial capacity utilization
  • 4:45 p.m.: Hong Kong business confidence

Source: cnbc china
Asian markets poised to open with moderate gains despite softer US lead

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