Asia markets poised for a mixed start, with trade and China data in focus

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Asian shares looked set for a mixed start on Tuesday after U.S. stock indexes recorded gains amid an improvement in sentiment over U.S.-China trade developments.

Nikkei futures traded in Chicago were up 0.13 percent against the index’s last close at 22,895 while Australian SPI futures were flat at the end of Monday.

That followed a positive session on Wall Street, which saw U.S. stocks finish slightly higher as investors focused on U.S.-China trade ties ahead of a second round of negotiations expected this week.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.27 percent, or 68.24 points, to 24,899.41, the S&P 500 tacked on 0.09 percent to 2,730.13 and the Nasdaq composite advanced 0.11 percent to close at 7,411.32.

President Donald Trump said in a tweet on Sunday that he was working with Chinese President Xi Jinping to find a way for Chinese telecommunications equipment company ZTE “to get back into business, fast.” That pledge comes after the U.S. government imposed a ban on U.S. companies on supplying ZTE with technology after the Chinese firm was found to have illegally shipped equipment to Iran.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on Monday said he hoped good relations between Trump and Xi would help to bring an agreement on trade matters, although he also acknowledged that the gap between the countries “remains wide.”

Meanwhile, oil prices gained in the last session as OPEC raised its global oil demand estimate for the year. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures settled 26 cents higher at $70.96 per barrel and Brent crude futures advanced $1.11 to settle at $78.23.

On the corporate front, earnings are expected from Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group and Mizuho Financial Group. Also on the calendar for Tuesday are annual general meetings held by Sinopec and Li & Fung.

The economic calendar for Tuesday is fairly top-heavy, with a raft of China data expected in the morning (all times in HK/SIN):

  • 8:30 a.m.: Reserve Bank of Australia meeting minutes
  • 10:00 a.m.: China industrial production
  • 10:00 a.m.: China fixed asset investment
  • 10:00 a.m.: China retail sales
  • 12:00 p.m.: Indonesia trade data

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