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Japan stocks set to trade higher; China says its factory activity growth slowed in February

SINGAPORE — Stocks in Japan were set to trade higher at the Monday open, as official data released over the weekend showed China’s manufacturing activity growth slowing in February.

Futures pointed to a higher open for Japanese stocks. The Nikkei futures contract in Chicago was at 29,445 while its counterpart in Osaka was at 29,350. That compared against the Nikkei 225’s last close at 28,966.01 following a nearly 4% plunge on Friday.

Stocks in Australia edged higher in morning trade, as the S&P/ASX 200 gained about 0.80%.

South Korea’s markets are closed on Monday for a holiday.

China manufacturing PMI

In economic developments, China’s official manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for February came in at 50.6 over the weekend, according to data released by the country’s National Bureau of Statistics.

That was lower than January’s reading of 51.3 but still above the 50 level that separates expansion from contraction.

Looking ahead, a private survey on Chinese manufacturing activity in February is expected, with the Caixin/Markit manufacturing PMI set to be out at 9:45 a.m. HK/SIN on Monday.

Currencies

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 90.825 after recovering from levels below 90 in late February.

The Japanese yen traded at 106.53 per dollar, weaker than levels below 105.6 against the greenback seen last week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7735, having slipped from levels above $0.792 last week.

Here’s a look at what’s on tap:

  • China: Caixin/Markit manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index at 9:45 a.m. HK/SIN

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