China July trade data, Australia banks in focus

Futures tipped a marginally lower open for equities in Japan. Nikkei futures traded in Chicago were lower by just under 0.01 percent at 20,055 and Osaka futures were off 0.03 percent at 20,050. Both were a tad below the Nikkei 225’s last close of 20,055.89.

Australian SPI futures were down 0.96 percent at 5,718 compared to the benchmark index’s previous close of 5,773.558.

Stateside, major indexes closed higher in the last session as the Dow Jones industrial average recorded its 9th straight record close. The index rose 0.12 percent, or 25.61 points, to close at 22,118.42. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 advanced 0.16 percent, or 4.08 points, to end at 2,480.91 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq added 0.51 percent, or 32.21 points, to finish the session at 6,383.77.

On the earnings front, Japan’s SoftBank said Monday that quarterly operating profits increased 50 percent on year to 479.2 billion yen ($4.33 billion). That followed the company’s inclusion of Vision Fund, a private equity fund, as a segment in its business.

Other Asian corporates expected to report earnings during the day include Hong Kong’s Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation.

In other corporate news, fallout from a banking scandal Down Under remained in the spotlight, with Reuters reporting Tuesday that the Commonwealth Bank of Australia would be scrapping the bonus of its CEO. CBA earlier blamed a software blunder for a series of transactions that reportedly breached anti-money laundering law, Reuters said.

Samsung Electronics was also in the news after Vice Chairman Jay Y. Lee faced charges linked to the bribery of South Korea’s former president Park Geun-hye, Reuters said Monday. A 12-year jail term is being pursued by prosecutors and the South Korean court is expected to make its ruling on Aug. 25.

Meanwhile, the dollar index trended lower to stand at 93.423, but remained slightly above a low of 93.302 seen overnight. The index tracks the dollar against a basket of rival currencies. The greenback was mostly flat against the Japanese currency, with the dollar fetching 110.75 yen at 6:50 a.m. HK/SIN.

Oil prices slipped in the previous session as markets digested an increase in output in Libya. Reuters reported Monday that production from the country’s biggest oil field had recovered after it faced disruptions caused by protesters. Brent crude settled lower by 5 cents at $51.37 a barrel and U.S. crude slid 19 cents to settle at $49.39 a barrel.

The Tuesday trading session is fairly data light, with investors expected to watch for China export and import numbers due later in the day (all times in HK/SIN):

  • After 10:00 a.m.: China July trade data
  • 4:00 p.m.: Taiwan July exports

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