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Stocks in Japan set to rise, as stronger-than-expected U.S. retail sales boost Wall Street

SINGAPORE — Stocks in Japan were set to rise on Wednesday, as markets in the U.S. were lifted on the back of stronger-than-expected retail sales data.

The Nikkei futures contract in Chicago and its counterpart in Osaka both sat at 29,870 — higher than the Nikkei 225’s last close at 29,808.12.

Over in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 was subdued in early trade, edging down 0.2%.

In earnings, Chinese tech giant Baidu is set to announce its third-quarter results later on Wednesday.

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U.S. stocks, which were in a rut in recent days after touching records earlier this month, were given a boost by retail sales data. The latest retail sales figures for October showed consumers were increasing their spending, with sales jumping 1.7% compared to a 0.8% increase in the prior month.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 54.77 points, or 0.15%, to 36,142.22. The S&P 500 gained 0.39% to 4,700.90, and the Nasdaq Composite rose 0.76% to 15,973.86. 

“The strength in the US economic activity, combined with the above‑target inflation, might increase pressure on the [Federal Open Market Committee] to quicken the pace of its tapering of asset purchases,” the Commonwealth Bank of Australia wrote in a note on Wednesday.

Currencies

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 95.915, jumping from levels above 95.5 earlier.

The Japanese yen traded at 114.90 per dollar, weakening from previous levels of around 114.1. The Australian dollar was at $0.7298, sliding from levels around $0.73 earlier.


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