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Asia-Pacific markets set to open lower; Bank of Japan rate decision ahead

SINGAPORE — Futures in the Asia-Pacific region pointed to a lower open on Thursday as investors look ahead to the Bank of Japan rate decision.

In Australia, SPI futures were at 6,636, lower than the S&P/ASX 200‘s last close at 6,759.2.

The Nikkei futures contract in Chicago was at 27,575 while its counterpart in Osaka was at 27,550. That compared against the Nikkei 225’s last close at 27,680.26.

The Bank of Japan is expected to keep rates at ultra-low levels Thursday, according to a Reuters poll.

Japan’s yen changed hands at 138.25 per dollar ahead of the decision.

The currency has weakened considerably in recent months as Japan’s easy monetary policy diverges from that of other countries.

Central banks in the region and the rest of the world have raised interest rates in a bid to keep inflation under control. The European Central Bank is expected to hike rates later Thursday.

Japan’s latest consumer price index report showed that prices rose 2.1% from a year before, just above the central bank’s target.

Stock picks and investing trends from CNBC Pro:

In company news, Hyundai Motor will be reporting its second-quarter results Thursday.

Overnight in the U.S., major averages reached their highest points since early June.

The Nasdaq Composite popped 1.58% to 11,897.65, and the S&P 500 gained 0.59% to 3,959.90. Meanwhile, the Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 47.79 points, or 0.15%, to 31,874.84 after struggling for direction in the session.

Currencies

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 107.076, weaker than last week’s levels.

The Australian dollar was at $0.6884, weakening slightly after jumping earlier in the week.


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