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Asia-Pacific stocks set to open mixed; private survey on Chinese July factory activity ahead

SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia-Pacific looked set for a mixed start on Monday as investors look ahead to the release of a private survey on Chinese manufacturing activity in July.

Futures pointed to a higher open for Japanese stocks. The Nikkei futures contract in Chicago was at 27,600 while its counterpart in Osaka was at 27,490. That compared against the Nikkei 225’s last close at 27,283.59.

Australian stocks looked poised to dip at the open. The SPI futures contract was at 7,337, against the S&P/ASX 200’s last close at 7,392.60.

Investors will watch shares of Australia’s Afterpay after U.S. fintech firm Square announced it had agreed to buy the buy now, pay later giant.

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Looking ahead, the Caixin/Markit manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index for July is set to be out at 9:45 a.m. HK/SIN on Monday.

China’s official manufacturing PMI released over the weekend showed factory activity growth slowing in July, with the figure for the month coming in at 50.4 versus June’s reading of 50.9.

PMI readings above 50 represent expansion, while those below that level signal contraction. PMI readings are sequential and represent month-on-month expansion or contractions.

The Covid situation in the region may also weigh on investor sentiment. More areas in Japan entered a Covid-19 state of emergency on Monday due to a spike in virus cases, according to local news agency Kyodo News.

Meanwhile, Chinese state media reported that governments at various levels across the country have taken virus containment measures following a resurgence in infections that reportedly started in the city of Nanjing.

Currencies

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 92.122 after a recent decline from levels above 92.4.

The Japanese yen traded at 109.74 per dollar, stronger than levels above 110 against the greenback seen last week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7342, having slipped from levels above $0.738 late last week.


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