Asian stocks poised for slightly softer open as markets await China data

  • U.S. stocks rose on Friday, with the S&P 500 closing above the 2,800 mark for the first time since February.
  • Gains in stocks last week came amid a perceived easing in trade rhetoric between the U.S. and China.
  • A barrage of China economic data is due to be released later in the day.

Asian stocks were set for a slightly softer open on Monday after major markets in the region posted gains last week amid a perceived easing in rhetoric in the U.S.-China trade dispute. Investors also awaited the release of a barrage of China economic data due later in the day.

Australian SPI futures were lower by 0.11 percent at the end on Friday. Meanwhile, markets in Japan will be closed for a holiday on Monday.

On Friday, the S&P 500 added 0.11 percent to end at 2,801.31, closing the session above the 2,800 level for the first time since Feb. 1. Other U.S. indexes also finished the session in positive territory: The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 0.38 percent, or 94.52 points, at 25,019.41, and the Nasdaq composite drifted higher by 0.03 percent to end the day at 7,825.98.

Despite the broader increase stateside, bank stocks dipped as markets digested the release of second-quarter earnings. Just over 5 percent of S&P 500 companies have reported second-quarter results so far. Analysts polled by FactSet expect second-quarter earnings to have grown by 20 percent.

Still, the overall gains came amid relief among investors over the lack of fresh, negative trade war headlines, according to analysts, with major U.S. indexes posting strong gains for the week. A similar picture was seen in Asia last week, with markets finishing the week higher.

That had come after stocks initially slid following the Trump administration releasing a list of $200 billion in Chinese goods that could be subject to new tariffs, firing the latest shot in the trade dispute between the U.S. and China. The announced duties will only take effect following a review process and come on the heels of U.S. tariffs on $34 billion in Chinese products taking effect earlier in the month.

Over in Asia, Chinese stock exchanges said the connect scheme linking Hong Kong and the mainland would not extend to firms with weighted voting rights structure, Reuters reported. That would mean that shares of Xiaomi, which recently began trade in the Hong Kong market, will not be accessible to investors on the mainland under the connect program.

In currencies, the dollar index, which tracks the U.S. dollar against a basket of currencies, last stood at 94.736. Against the yen, the dollar traded at 112.39.

What's on tap

Here’s the economic calendar for Monday (all times in HK/SIN):

  • 10:00 a.m.: China second-quarter GDP
  • 10:00 a.m.: China fixed asset investment, industrial production and retail sales

— CNBC’s Fred Imbert contributed to this report.

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