TOKYO—Global stock markets were muted Thursday ahead of U.S. economic data and possible policy announcements from Japan.
France’s CAC 40 slipped 0.4 per cent to 4,377.14 in early European trading, while Britain’s FTSE 100 was down 0.2 per cent to 6,818.81. Germany’s DAX fell 0.6 per cent to 9,508.15. Wall Street was set to retreat, with Dow futures down 0.1. S&P 500 futures were off 0.2 per cent.
The Nikkei 225, the benchmark for the Tokyo Stock Exchange, inched down 0.5 per cent to close at 15,459.86. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.7 per cent to 24,741.00 while South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.04 per cent to 2,075.76. Sydney’s S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.5 per cent to 5,624.40. Markets in Thailand and the Philippines fell but Singapore shares rose.
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.
Hideyuki Ishiguro, strategist with Okasan Securities Co. in Tokyo, said action was muted in the absence of market-moving news, and traders 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. Expectations the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates next year has contributed to renewed weakness in the yen recently, which is plus for Japan’s exporters because it raises the value of their overseas earnings.
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.
Qantas Airways surged 7 per cent 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.
Benchmark U.S. crude for October delivery was down 34 cents at $93.54 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The euro rose to $1.3209 from $1.3192 late Wednesday. The dollar dropped to 103.72 yen from 103.91 yen.