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Japan stocks set to trade lower as investors monitor coronavirus developments

SINGAPORE — Shares in Japan were set to open lower as investors in Asia-Pacific monitor coronavirus developments.

Futures pointed to a lower open for Japanese stocks. The Nikkei futures contract in Chicago was at 23,580 while its counterpart in Osaka was at 23,590. That compared against the Nikkei 225’s last close at 23,474.27.

Meanwhile, shares in Australia were little changed in early trade, with the S&P/ASX 200 around the flatline.

Semiconductor stocks in Asia-Pacific will be watched after chipmaker Intel reported mixed quarterly numbers.

On the coronavirus front, the Food and Drug Administration on Thursday approved Gilead Sciences’ antiviral drug remdesivir for the virus. The intravenous drug has helped shorten the recovery time of some hospitalized Covid-19 patients.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday a deal on new coronavirus stimulus was “just about there” though she warned that passing it into law will take time as she and the Trump administration attempt to iron out remaining issues.

Currencies

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 92.951 following a recovery from levels below 92.8 in recent days.

The Japanese yen traded at 104.89 per dollar, having weakened from levels around 104.5 against the greenback yesterday. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7129 following its rise from levels below $0.705 earlier this week

— CNBC’s Berkeley Lovelace Jr. contributed to this report.

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