In Asia, futures implied a higher open for Japanese equities. Nikkei futures traded in Chicago were up 0.5 percent at 19,460 and Osaka futures were 0.55 percent higher at 19,470. Those compared to the Nikkei 225’s previous close of 19,362.55.
Meanwhile, Australian SPI futures were off by 0.14 percent at 5,661 compared to the S&P/ASX 200’s Tuesday close of 5,669.012.
Stateside, stocks on Wall Street began the session lower, but shook off North Korea-related jitters to close higher. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.26 percent, or 56.97 points, to close at 21,865.37, the S&P 500 edged up 0.08 percent, or 2.06 points, to finish at 2,446.3 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq gained 0.3 percent, or 18.87 points, to end at 6,301.89.
On the energy front, at least 19 percent of refining capacity in the U.S. was shut down due to weather conditions caused by Tropical Storm Harvey, a now-downgraded hurricane. While some refiners in Corpus Christi were looking to begin operations in coming days, flooding in Houston would likely keep other refiners shut for the week, analysts said.
U.S. gasoline futures surged 4 percent to settle at $1.7833 a gallon following the refinery closures, according to Reuters. Meanwhile, Brent crude futures added 11 cents to settle at $52 a barrel and U.S. crude futures lost 13 cents to settle at $46.44.
In corporate news, Toshiba could miss an Aug. 31 deadline set by itself to sell its memory chip unit, Reuters reported. The latest stumbling block was a disagreement between parties over the size of Western Digital’s share in the business, Reuters added. Western Digital is part of a consortium, including Innovation Network Corporation of Japan, reportedly offering just below 2 trillion yen for Toshiba’s memory business.
In currencies, the dollar edged up against a basket of currencies to stand at 92.249 at 6:45 a.m. HK/SIN. The dollar index had fallen as low as 91.621 in the overnight session. The greenback also recovered from a 4-1/2-month low against the Japanese currency hit after North Korea’s Tuesday missile launch. The dollar last fetched 109.60 yen, above the lows of 108.82 yen plumbed earlier this week.
Meanwhile, the euro edged down to trade at $1.1973 after breaking the $1.20 level overnight.
Here’s the economic calendar for today (all times in HK/SIN):
- 7:30 a.m.: Japan July household spending
- 7:50 a.m.: Japan July preliminary retail sales
- 9:30 a.m.: Australia July building approvals