Asia opens flat following softer lead from Wall Street

Asia opens flat following softer lead from Wall Street

Stocks in Asia were mostly flat on Thursday following a slightly lower close on Wall Street in the last session and ahead of the Caixin PMI data from China due later in the morning.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index was higher by 0.18 per cent, while the Kospi gained 0.06 per cent in early trade.

Down Under, the S&P/ASX 200 was basically flat, trading lower by 0.04 per cent.

Indonesian markets are closed for a public holiday.

In economic news, Australia retail sales for the month of April are expected at 9:30 a.m. HK/SIN. Markets are also likely to focus on Caixin manufacturing PMI figures for China due 9:45 a.m.

Meanwhile, annual economic growth in India slowed in the quarter ended March, coming in at 6.1 per cent. The weaker than expected figures reflected the lagged impact of demonetization, Goldman Sachs said in an early morning note, adding that economic growth for the year remained in line with expectations.

Oil prices gained after falling 3 per cent in the last session due to an increase in production numbers out of Libya. US crude jumped 1.12 per cent to trade at US$48.86 (S$67.64) barrel while Brent crude gained 1.02 per cent at US$51.28.

The dollar traded against a basket of six major currencies at 96.995, softer than levels around the 97 handle seen last week.

The dollar was mostly steady against the yen. At 8:07 a.m. HK/SIN, the greenback fetched 110.86 yen (S$1.38), lower than the 111 handle seen last week but off lows of 110.65 seen in the overnight session.

Meanwhile, the British pound recovered slightly after falling to a one-month low earlier in the week. The pound last traded at US$1.2873.

Stateside, stocks closed slightly lower due to soft performance from financials and concerns over inflation after the Fed's Beige Book was released.

Following the release of the Beige Book on Wednesday, the 10-year Treasury yield at one point dipped below 2.2 per cent mark.


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