Japan stocks set to rise at the open as the second quarter kicks off

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SINGAPORE — Shares in Japan were set to rise at the Thursday open as the second quarter kicks off with several economic data releases expected across the region.

Futures pointed to a higher open for Japanese stocks. The Nikkei futures contract in Chicago was at 29,425 while its counterpart in Osaka was at 29,370. That compared against the Nikkei 225’s last close at 29,178.80.

Shares in Australia edged higher in morning trade as the S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.16%.

Economic data

A slew of economic data releases are expected across the region on Thursday. The headline large manufacturers index in the Bank of Japan’s quarterly tankan business sentiment survey came in at 5, against expectation of a 0 reading in a Reuters poll.

Australia’s retail sales and trade data for February is set to be released around 8:30 a.m. HK/SIN.

A private survey of China’s factory activity in March is also expected, with the Caixin/Markit manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) slated to be published around 9:45 a.m. HK/SIN.

China’s official manufacturing PMI released Wednesday came in at 51.9, higher than February’s reading of 50.6. PMI readings above 50 signify expansion while those below that level represent contraction. PMI readings are sequential and represent month-on-month expansion or contraction.

Currencies

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 93.232. That was weaker than levels above 93.2 seen earlier in the week.

The Japanese yen traded at 110.77 per dollar, still weaker as compared to levels below 109.6 against the greenback seen earlier this week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7594, having slipped from above $0.765 earlier in the week.

Here’s a look at what’s on tap:

  • Australia: Retail sales and trade data for February at 8:30 a.m. HK/SIN
  • China: Caixin/Markit manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index at 9:45 a.m. HK/SIN

— CNBC’s Yun Li contributed to this report.



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