Back in Asia, futures tipped a lower open for Japanese equities. Nikkei futures traded in Chicago were off 0.17 percent at 20,045 and Osaka futures were lower by 0.15 percent at 20,050. Both were below the benchmark index’s last close of 20,080.04.

Australian SPI futures were down 0.91 percent at 5,692 compared to the S&P/ASX 200’s Wednesday close of 5,744.203.

Thursday market movers could include Standard Chartered shares listed in Hong Kong and Australia-listed Rio Tinto shares. Both companies reported earnings after the market close on Wednesday. Standard Chartered said pretax profits in the first half rose 93 percent, although the bank announced it would not begin paying dividends. Meanwhile, Rio Tinto said first-half profits rose more than twofold on year. The miner also announced a $1 billion share buyback.

On the earnings front, Hong Kong’s CK Hutchison and Cheung Kong Property Holdings and Singapore’s CapitaLand are among the Asian companies reporting results Thursday.

In currencies, the U.S. currency continued to flounder. The dollar index, which tracks the dollar against rival currencies, sat at 92.836 at 6:40 a.m. HK/SIN. The index was off a high of 93.160 seen in the overnight session but above a low of 92.548 seen Wednesday.

While the greenback was firmer against the yen overnight, fetching 110.70 yen, the U.S. currency dropped against the euro. The common currency traded above the $1.19 level overnight, which was the first time it had done so in around two-and-a-half years. The euro last stood at $1.1852.

Oil prices reversed losses made during Asian trading hours Wednesday to climb almost 1 percent. Brent crude rose 1.1 percent to settle at $52.36 a barrel while U.S. crude gained 0.9 percent to settle at $49.59 a barrel. Oil had climbed following a report that reflected a record level of gasoline demand in the U.S.

The economic calendar for the Asian trading session is fairly light (all times in HK/SIN):

  • 9:30 a.m.: Australia June trade data
  • 9:45 a.m.: Caixin services PMI

Markets will also await the Bank of England’s interest rate decision during European trading hours while a barrage of U.S. datapoints, including the Markit composite PMI and ISM non-manufacturing PMI, are due later in the day.

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