U.S. jobs data, Alibaba earnings, currencies in focus

Asia Pacific stocks were set to open mixed following the release of mixed U.S. economic data overnight.

Futures pointed to a higher open for stocks in Japan. The Nikkei futures contract in Chicago was at 23,010 while its counterpart in Osaka was at 23,000. That compared against the Nikkei 225’s last close at 22,880.62.

Shares in Australia, on the other hand, looked set to dip. The SPI futures contract was at 6,082.0, as compared to the S&P/ASX 200’s last close at 6,120.

The U.S. Labor Department said Thursday that initial weekly jobless claims stateside came in above 1 million. That was higher than a Dow Jones estimate of 923,000. Still, continuing claims — those receiving unemployment benefits for at least two straight weeks — continued to decline.

Meanwhile, shares of Alibaba listed in Hong Kong will be watched by investors after the Chinese tech behemoth announced a 34% on-year increase in revenue in the quarter ended June 30.

In a media release announcing the quarterly results, Alibaba Group Chief Financial Officer Maggie Wu said the firm’s “domestic core commerce business has fully recovered to pre-COVID-19 levels across the board.”

Overnight on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 46.85 points, or 0.1%, to close at 27,739.73. The S&P 500 gained 0.3% to finish its trading day stateside at 3,385.51 while the Nasdaq Composite jumped 1% to a new record close of 11,264.95.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 92.793 after seeing levels below 92.4 earlier in the trading week.

The Japanese yen traded at 105.72 per dollar after touching levels above 106 against the greenback yesterday. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7199, in a turbulent trading week that has seen it from levels above $0.724 to below $0.716.

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