Asian stocks poised for slight gains as dollar advances

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Futures tipped slight gains for Asian stocks on Wednesday after the mixed close on Wall Street as several markets in the region re-opened for trade after a holiday.

Stateside, the Nasdaq composite advanced 0.91 percent to end at 7,190.70 as Apple stock jumped ahead of expectation-topping results released after the market close, and the S&P 500 gained 0.25 percent to close at 2,654.80.

The Dow Jones industrial average, however, slipped 0.27 percent, or 64.10 points, to finish the session at 24,099.05.

Almost 80 percent of S&P 500 companies that had reported first-quarter results as of Monday had topped expectations, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Over in Asia, futures pointed to slight gains for markets in Japan and Australia on Wednesday. Nikkei futures traded in Chicago were up 0.39 percent at 22,595 compared to the index’s last close.

Down Under, Australian SPI futures were last higher by 0.12 percent.

On the corporate front, earnings from Standard Chartered and SJM Holdings are due later in the day.

In currencies, the dollar continued its march higher ahead of the end of the Federal Reserve’s May meeting. The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six currencies, touched a high of 92.566 before paring some of those gains to stand at 92.449.

Most analysts expect the Fed to hold interest rates steady this month, but will be on the lookout for signals on the central bank’s views on inflation and the economy.

Against the yen, the dollar firmed to trade at 109.84 by 6:46 a.m. HK/SIN. Meanwhile, the Australian dollar slipped below the $0.75 handle to last trade at $0.7488.

Oil prices fell amid strength in the dollar. Brent crude futures for July delivery declined 2.1 percent to settle at $73.13 per barrel and U.S. West Texas Intermediate futures for June delivery slid almost 2 percent to settle at $67.25.

The economic calendar for Wednesday includes a slew of PMI releases. Here are the highlights (all times in HK/SIN):

  • 8:30 a.m.: South Korea Nikkei manufacturing PMI
  • 9:45 a.m.: China Caixin manufacturing PMI
  • 12:00 p.m.: Indonesia core CPI
  • 1:00 p.m.: Japan consumer confidence

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