Moneycontrol
Oct 13, 2017 07:55 AM IST | Source: CNBC

Stocks in Asia subdued as investors await China trade data

Japan's Nikkei 225 was little changed, with the index sliding 0.04 percent a day after touching a 21-year high. Gains in retail names were offset by losses in blue-chip auto and tech stocks: Fast Retailing soared 3.53 percent, Toyota was off 0.71 percent and Softbank Group lost 0.45 percent.

Stocks in Asia subdued as investors await China trade data

Markets in Asia were subdued on Friday after Wall Street slipped as investors awaited the release of China trade data during the session. U.S. inflation and retail sales data are also due just ahead of the trading day stateside.

Japan's Nikkei 225 was little changed, with the index sliding 0.04 percent a day after touching a 21-year high. Gains in retail names were offset by losses in blue-chip auto and tech stocks: Fast Retailing soared 3.53 percent, Toyota was off 0.71 percent and Softbank Group lost 0.45 percent.

Across the Korean Strait, the Kospi hovered around the flat line, trading just 0.02 percent higher.

Down Under, the S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.17 percent. The health care and consumer staples sub-indexes led gains on the index, rising 0.58 percent and 0.57 percent respectively.

U.S. producer prices increased 0.4 percent in September, Reuters said, as investors awaited the release of the consumer inflation data due Friday U.S. time. That release is expected to show an annual inflation rate of 2.3 percent, according to forecasts compiled by FactSet.

Minutes released this week from the Federal Reserve's previous meeting showed the central bank continued to be divided over the inflation outlook in the U.S.

The dollar was stable after edging up against a basket of currencies overnight. The dollar index stood at 93.090 at 8:24 a.m. HK/SIN.

Against the Japanese currency, the greenback slipped to trade at 112.19 yen.

Meanwhile, shares in the U.S. closed lower on Thursday after major U.S. financials reported quarterly results. Earnings from JPMorgan and Citigroup both beat expectations, but shares of the companies finished the session lower. The Dow Jones industrial average slid 0.14 percent, or 31.88 points, to close at 22,814.01.

Elsewhere, the pound was steady at $1.3262 at 8:25 a.m. HK/SIN — its highest level in more than a week. The currency had gained on Thursday after German outlet Handelsblatt reported that the U.K. could remain in the European Union for two more years.

In corporate news, Samsung Electronics said Friday third-quarter operating profit was likely to increase 179 percent compared to one year ago. The company estimated a record profit of 14.5 trillion won ($12.8 billion), above a median Reuters forecast of 14.3 trillion won. Shares of the company were off 0.88 percent, having rallied early this week on profit expectations.

Japan's Asahi Group Holdings could sell its almost 20 percent stake in Tsingtao Brewery, according to Nikkei Asian Review. The move to divest from Tsingtao was in line with the Japanese brewer's push to grow its business in Europe, Nikkei added. Asahi stock was up 0.75 percent.

In economic news, advance third quarter Singapore GDP showed the economy grew 4.6 percent compared to the same quarter in the previous year. That was above the 3.8 percent growth median figure forecast by analysts in a Reuters survey.

Oil markets took note of the greater-than-expected decrease in U.S. stockpiles, with prices climbing slightly higher after settling down more than 1 percent in the last session. Brent crude futures edged up 0.25 percent to trade at $56.39 a barrel and U.S. West Texas Intermediate advanced 0.3 percent to $50.75.

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

10:00 a.m.: China September trade data12:00 p.m.: Malaysia August retail sales
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