Stocks in Asia Pacific were set for a mixed start as investors continued to monitor the situation surrounding a recent uptick in coronavirus cases in some countries.
Futures pointed to a positive open for Japanese stocks. The Nikkei futures contract in Chicago was at 22,455 while its counterpart in Osaka was at 22,360. That compared against the Nikkei 225’s last close at 22,355.46.
Shares in Australia, on the other hand, were poised to dip. The SPI futures contract was at 5,922, as compared to the S&P/ASX 200’s last close at 5,936.50.
Investor focus on Friday will likely remain on developments surrounding the resurgence of coronavirus in some places, with four states in the U.S. reporting record spikes in cases.
Meanwhile, a Chinese health expert said Thursday that a recent virus outbreak in Beijing is under control. The Chinese capital saw a jump in infections after more than 50 days without domestically transmitted Covid-19 cases.
“The epidemic in Beijing has been brought under control,” Wu Zunyou, the chief epidemiologist of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said according to a Reuters translation. “When I say that it’s under control, that doesn’t mean the number of cases will turn zero tomorrow or the day after.”
On the economic data front, Australia’s preliminary retail sales data for May is expected to be out at 9:30 a.m. HK/SIN on Friday.
Overnight stateside, the Dow Jones Industrial Average saw its second straight day of losses as it dipped 39.51 points to close at 26,080.10. The Nasdaq Composite, meanwhile, added 0.3% to finish its trading day at 9,943.05 for its fifth consecutive gain. The S&P 500 closed 0.1% higher at 3,115.34.
The moves came as initial U.S. weekly jobless claims rose more than expected last week, coming in at 1.508 million. Economists polled by Dow Jones expected a print of 1.3 million.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 97.421 after rising from levels below 97.2 earlier.
The Japanese yen traded at 106.97 per dollar after seeing touching levels around 107.1 yesterday. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6859 after declining from levels above $0.688 yesterday.
Here’s a look at what’s on tap for Friday:
- Australia: Preliminary retail sales data for May at 9:30 a.m. HK/SIN
— CNBC’s Fred Imbert and Matt Clinch contributed to this report.