Asia-Pacific stocks set to drop; Japan’s retail sales data ahead

SINGAPORE — Markets in Asia-Pacific were mostly lower in early trading on Friday. Meanwhile, U.S. stocks rallied despite data showing second-quarter gross domestic product grew less than expected.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 dipped 0.8% in early trade, while the Topix lost 0.46%.

Reuters reported the country’s industrial output jumped 6.2% in June, sharply rising from a 6.5% drop in May. June retail sales rose 0.1% from a year earlier, less than forecasts for a 0.2% gain.

South Korea’s Kospi was down 0.55%.

The S&P/ASX 200 in Australia traded just above the flatline. Markets will be tracking the Covid situation in Sydney, which reported a record daily rise in Covid cases Thursday despite an extended lockdown. Reuters reported that authorities have requested help from the military in enforcing the lockdown.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was flat.

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Stocks rallied stateside during Thursday’s regular session even though data showed U.S. second-quarter GDP rose 6.5% on an annualized basis, considerably less than the 8.4% Dow Jones estimate.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained about 150 points on Thursday after reaching a new intraday high. The S&P 500, which also briefly touched an all-time high, finished the day up 0.4% at 4,419.15.

“Yesterday’s rebound in Chinese equities after the recent regulatory induced sell-off provided a positive lead to the solid performance in risk asset overnight,” said Rodrigo Catril, senior FX strategist at National Australia Bank.

Investors will be watching how Chinese stocks end a week of volatile trading. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index dived more than 8% in two days, then bounced back 3% in Thursday’s session.

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 91.880, dropping from levels above 92 the day before.

The Japanese yen traded at 109.40 per dollar, strengthening slightly from levels above 109.9 earlier in the week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7394, after a dip earlier in the week to around $0.735.

Oil prices dipped in the morning of Asia trading hours, with Brent crude futures down 0.34% to $75.79 per barrel. U.S. crude futures lower by 0.42% to $73.33 per barrel.

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