Economic data, coronavirus, currencies in focus

Stocks in Asia Pacific were set to trade mixed at the Friday open as investors await several economic data releases for July.

Futures pointed to a mixed start for Japanese stocks. The Nikkei futures contract in Chicago was at 22,450 while its counterpart in Osaka was at 22,410. That compared against the Nikkei 225’s last close at 22,418.15.

Meanwhile, shares in Australia were set to slip at the open. The SPI futures contract was at 5,986.0, as compared to the S&P/ASX 200’s last close at 6,042.20. The Reserve Bank of Australia is set to release its statement on monetary policy at around 9:30 a.m. HK/SIN.

On the economic data front, China’s trade figures for July are set to be out at around 11:00 a.m. HK/SIN. Investors will watch the data for clues to the state of China’s export sector as it looks to recover from the economic hit of the coronavirus pandemic.

Later on Friday morning stateside, the U.S. jobs report for July is expected to be out at 8:30 a.m. ET. Economists forecast 1.48 million jobs were gained in July, down sharply from the 4.8 million in June, according to Dow Jones.

Overnight stateside, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 185.46 points higher, or 0.7%, at 27,386.98. The S&P 500 rose 0.6% to end its trading day at 3,349.16 while the Nasdaq Composite advanced 1% to close at 11,108.07.

The moves on Wall Street came as the Labor Department reported initial jobless claims for the week ending Aug. 1 that were better than expected. The figure totaled 1.186 million, lower than a Dow Jones estimate of 1.423 million and the lowest claims level since the pandemic began.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 92.788 after sliding from levels above 93.6 this week.

The Japanese yen traded at 105.52 per dollar after seeing levels around 106.4 against the greenback earlier in the trading week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7233 following a bounce from below the $0.72 mark yesterday.

Here’s a look at what’s on tap:

  • Australia: Statement on monetary policy at 9:30 a.m. HK/SIN
  • China: Trade data for July at 11:00 a.m. HK/SIN
  • U.S.: July jobs report at 9:30 a.m. ET

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