Asia stocks set to dip as investors await jobless claims data stateside

Stocks in Asia were set to trade lower on Thursday as investors await the release of U.S. jobless claims data expected later in the day stateside.

Futures pointed to a lower open for Japanese shares. The Nikkei futures contract in Chicago was at 19,340 while its counterpart in Osaka was at 18,970. That compared against the Nikkei 225’s last close at 19,546.63.

Meanwhile, the S&P/ASX 200 in Australia jumped more than 1.5% in early trade, with most of the sectors higher.

Investors will await the release of U.S. initial jobless claims data, expected to be out around 8:30 p.m. HK/SIN on Thursday, which could provide clues to the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are now starting to get data prints that should begin the capture the new reality, on that score tonight’s US Jobless claims is the big data release,” Rodrigo Catril, senior foreign exchange strategist at National Australia Bank, wrote in a note.

“The US jobless claims figures for the week ending 21 March is expected to be very big, last week’s claims printed at 281k and the median estimate for the 21 March number is 1.5m,” Catril said. “There is a wide range of estimates out there — a couple of estimates as high as 4m and over a third of economist estimates above 2m.”

Stocks of Apple suppliers in Asia will also be watched on Thursday after the Cupertino-based tech giant’s stock fell overnight following a Nikkei Asian Review report that the company considered delaying its annual iPhone launch by months.

Overnight stateside, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 495.64 points to close at 21,200.55 while the S&P 500 ended its trading day 1.1% higher at 2,475.56. The Nasdaq Composite, however, dipped 0.5% to close at 7,384.30.

The U.S. dollar index, which track the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 101.050 after seeing levels above 102 earlier in the week.

The Japanese yen traded at 110.89 per dollar after touching an earlier low of 111.30. The Australian dollar was at $0.5895 after declining from levels above $0.6 yesterday.

Here’s a look at what’s on tap in the trading day ahead:

  • Singapore: Industrial production data for February at 1:00 p.m. HK/SIN

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