TOKYO – Global stock markets were muted Thursday ahead of U.S. economic data and possible policy announcements from Japan.
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KEEPING SCORE: France's CAC 40 slipped 0.1 percent to 4,389.46 in early European trading, while Britain's FTSE 100 was down 0.1 percent to 6,826.21. Germany's DAX fell 0.7 percent to 9,507.65. Wall Street was set to retreat, with Dow futures down 0.1. S&P 500 futures were also off 0.1 percent.
ASIA'S DAY: The Nikkei 225, the benchmark for the Tokyo Stock Exchange, inched down 0.5 percent to close at 15,459.86. Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.9 percent to 24,683.43 while South Korea's Kospi rose 0.04 percent to 2,075.76. Sydney's S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.5 percent to 5,624.40. Markets in Thailand and the Philippines fell but Singapore shares rose.
US OUTLOOK: Revised data on U.S. economic growth for the April-June quarter is scheduled to be released later Thursday. But markets are more interested in employment data due for release the following week.
ANALYST TAKE: Hideyuki Ishiguro, strategist with Okasan Securities Co. in Tokyo, said action was muted in the absence of market-moving news, and players looking to the release of U.S. employment data next week. "Players are also waiting for signs on how long the weak yen might last," he said on NTV news. A weak yen is a plus for Japan's exporters because it raises the value of their overseas earnings.
JAPAN POLITICS: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to announce his new Cabinet ministers next week, which could signal what's in store for his so-called "Abenomics" policies that have helped Japan's economic revival and stock prices. The policies are believed to have helped the yen weaken and prices to rise in Japan, curbing the negative spiral of deflation.
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QANTAS FLIES: Qantas Airways surged 7 percent in Sydney despite reporting a record loss that stemmed from tough domestic competition, a struggling long-haul business and a massive writedown of the value of its fleet. Investors welcomed confirmation it would separate its domestic and troubled international businesses, possibly attracting new investors to the long-haul operation.
ENERGY, CURRENCIES: Benchmark U.S. crude for October delivery was down 26 cents at $93.62 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The euro rose to $1.3206 from $1.3192 late Wednesday. The dollar dropped to 103.77 yen from 103.91 yen.
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