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Asia-Pacific stocks set for muted start after mixed U.S. economic data

SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia-Pacific looked set for a muted open on Friday as investors react to mixed U.S. economic data released overnight.

Futures pointed to a little changed open for Japanese stocks, with the Nikkei futures contract in Chicago at 30,340 while its counterpart in Osaka was at 30,290. That compared against the Nikkei 225’s last close at 30,323.34.

Australian stocks also looked set for a quiet start, with the SPI futures contract at 7,424.0, against the S&P/ASX 200’s last close at 7,460.20.

Investors will watch market moves in Hong Kong. The benchmark Hang Seng index has dropped nearly 6% so far this week amid regulatory concerns surrounding sectors such as technology and casinos.

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Overnight stateside, the Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 63.07 points to 34,751.32 while the S&P 500 dipped around 0.16% to 4,473.75. The Nasdaq Composite advanced 0.13% to 15,181.92.

The moves on Wall Street came after the Census Bureau reported Thursday that August’s retail sales increased 0.7% for the month against the Dow Jones estimate of a decline of 0.8%. The initial estimate for July, however, was revised down to a decline of nearly 2% from a month-over-month gain of 0.5%.

Meanwhile, the latest unemployment insurance weekly data showed 332,000 first-time jobless claims last week, higher than the Dow Jones estimate of 320,000.

Currencies

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers was at 92.932 following a recent jump from below 92.6.

The Japanese yen traded at 109.70 per dollar, stronger than levels above 110 seen against the greenback earlier this week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7294, struggling to recover after slipping from above $0.735 earlier in the week.


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