Asia-Pacific stocks little changed as markets struggle for direction

  • Japan's retail sales rose 5.2% in March as compared with a year ago, according to government data. That was higher than a median market forecast for a 4.7% gain, according to Reuters.
  • Australia's inflation data for the first quarter is expected, with the consumer price index set to be released at 9:30 a.m. HK/SIN.
  • Investors will monitor Hong Kong-listed shares of Alibaba after the Wall Street Journal reported that China is investigating how founder Jack Ma got speedy approvals for the company's stock listing last year.

SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia-Pacific were little changed in Wednesday morning trade, with major markets struggling for direction.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 dipped fractionally while the Topix index gained 0.2%.

Japan's retail sales rose 5.2% in March as compared with a year ago, according to government data. That was higher than a median market forecast for a 4.7% gain, according to Reuters.

South Korea's Kospi slipped slightly. The S&P/ASX 200 in Australia declined about 0.1%. Australia's inflation data for the first quarter is expected, with the consumer price index set to be released at 9:30 a.m. HK/SIN.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded 0.08% lower.

In corporate developments, investors will monitor Hong Kong-listed shares of Alibaba after the Wall Street Journal reported that China is investigating how founder Jack Ma got speedy approvals for the company's stock listing last year.

Major indexes on Wall Street were muted overnight stateside. The S&P 500 closed little changed at 4,186.72 while the Dow Jones Industrial Average also finished its trading day largely flat at 33,984.93. The Nasdaq Composite dipped 0.34% to close at 14,090.22.

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 90.893 after seeing levels below 90.9 earlier in the trading week.

The Japanese yen traded at 108.79 per dollar, having weakened notably from levels below 108 against the greenback seen earlier in the trading week. The Australian dollar was at $0.7762 after yesterday's decline from around $0.78.

Oil prices were higher in the morning of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up 0.12% to $66.50 per barrel. U.S. crude futures gained 0.13% to $63.02 per barrel.

Here's a look at what's on tap:

  • Australia: Consumer price index for the first quarter at 9:30 a.m. HK/SIN

Source: Read Full Article