Asia Markets: Asian markets little changed as Japan reports plunge in exports

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Asian markets were little changed in early trading Thursday, after Wall Street bounced back and Japan reported miserable exports data.

Japan’s Nikkei NIK, -0.14% inched down slightly, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index HSI, -0.03% eked up a bit. The Shanghai Composite SHCOMP, +0.05% rose 0.1% while the Shenzhen Composite 399106, -0.09% slid 0.1%. South Korea’s Kospi 180721, +0.42% gained 0.5%, and benchmark indexes in Taiwan Y9999, +0.78% , Singapore STI, +0.11% and Malaysia FBMKLCI, +0.98% rose. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 XJO, -0.05% was about flat.

On Wednesday, Japan reported its April exports plummeted nearly 22% while imports fell 7%, the worst monthly readings in more than a decade. Japan is the world’s third-largest economy, and fell into recession in the first quarter due to coronavirus-related shutdowns.

China, meanwhile, is pushing to jump-start jobs lost to pandemic closures. As many as 30% of China’s urban workers are estimated to have lost their jobs, Fitch Ratings said, and the Associated Press reported the government is being pressured to get the economy going again as the country’s National People’s Congress is set to meet.

U.S. stock index futures slipped Wednesday night, after the S&P 500 closed at a 10-week high earlier in the day. The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +1.52% advanced 369.04 points, or 1.5%, to finish at 24,575.90. The S&P 500 SPX, +1.66% climbed 48.67 points, or 1.7%, to end at 2,971.61, its highest close since March 6, according to Dow Jones Market Data. The Nasdaq Composite COMP, +2.07% rose 190.67 points, or 2.1%, closing at 9,375.78.

West Texas Intermediate crude CLN20, +0.56% inched higher, as did Brent crude BRNN20, +0.92% , the global benchmark.

The dollar USDJPY, +0.11% rose slightly to 107.63 yen..

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