Asian stocks look set for mixed start to week

Asian stocks look set for mixed start to week
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SINGAPORE (Jan 13): Asian stocks looked set for a mixed session Monday after a decline in U.S. shares following Friday’s lackluster employment report.

Australian shares slipped along with futures in South Korea, while contracts in Hong Kong pointed higher. Japanese markets are closed for a holiday. U.S. futures inched higher after the S&P 500 dropped from record levels Friday with the latest jobs report delivering mixed signals on the strength of the economy. The yen ticked lower.

Geopolitics remained on the radar over the weekend, with Iran admitting it downed a Ukrainian jet after mistaking it for a cruise missile. North Korea said it won’t trade its nuclear weapons for a lifting of sanctions. Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen won a landslide victory over a China-friendly challenger to clinch a second term.

In the Philippines, trading in stocks and FX was suspended because the Taal volcano to the south of the capital is belching out ash.

Looking ahead, the U.S. and China are still expected to sign the first phase of their trade deal, which President Donald Trump said will take place on Wednesday.

“Markets have begun normalizing in a manner loosely consistent with reflation,” JPMorgan Chase & Co. strategist John Normand, wrote in a note Friday. “We still think that most reflation norms will reemerge this year -- except for the return of meaningfully higher bond yields -- as many of the issues buffeting markets appear manageable.”

Meanwhile, U.S. earnings season gets underway this week, with Citigroup Inc., Delta Air Lines Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co., UnitedHealth Group Inc. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. among S&P 500 companies reporting in the next several days. Corporate profits likely dropped for a second straight quarter at the end of 2019, dragging down annual earnings growth to the smallest in three years.

Elsewhere, oil retreated after last week posting its steepest loss since July.

These are some of the moves in major markets:

Stocks

* Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index declined 0.7% as of 8:12 a.m. in Tokyo.

* Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index futures rose 0.4%.

* S&P 500 Index futures gained 0.1%. The benchmark fell 0.3% Friday.

Currencies

* The yen was little changed at 109.53 per dollar.

* The offshore yuan was flat at 6.9139 per dollar.

* Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index dropped 0.1% Friday.

* The euro was at $1.1118.

Bonds

* The yield on 10-year Treasuries fell to 1.82% Friday.

Commodities

* West Texas Intermediate crude fell a fifth day, dropping 0.4% to $58.78.

* Gold declined 0.2% to $1,559.24 an ounce.