Asia stocks set for mixed start; dollar holds loss

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SYDNEY (Aug 20): Asian equities looked set for a mixed open Monday as traders look for clues from earnings reports, developments in the trade war and a meeting of central bankers in Jackson Hole to gauge the outlook for growth.

Futures indicated Hong Kong shares may open with small declines, while Japan was poised for a muted start to the week. The dollar held on to losses sustained last week, with the 10-year Treasury yield at 2.86 percent. The yuan steadied after stemming its recent declines amid signs China is propping up the currency just as it prepares to restart trade negotiations with the U.S.

Recent market turmoil won’t throw the Federal Reserve off its tightening course, bond traders are betting. They expect the Fed will raise rates at its next meeting and this week’s Jackson Hole symposium could provide clues as to whether such confidence is warranted as the spread between 2- and 10-year yields narrowed to the least since August 2007 on Friday. While the S&P 500 Index trades within a percentage point of its all-time high, Chinese stocks remain under pressure with the Shanghai Composite down 25 percent from its January peak.

Elsewhere, Turkish markets are closed this week. That may mean low trading volumes and the possibility of sharp currency swings.

Here are some key events coming up this week:

* Companies announcing earnings include Alibaba, Royal Bank of Canada, Lowe’s, Target, BHP Billiton, Qantas, Ping An and China’s Bank of Communications.

* Central bankers gather at the Kansas City Fed’s annual Jackson Hole symposium, where Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell speaks Friday.

* Fed releases the minutes from its July 31 - Aug. 1 FOMC meeting.

These are the main moves in markets:

Stocks

* Futures on Japan’s Nikkei slid 0.1 percent in most recent trading late Friday. 

* Futures on Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index dropped 0.4 percent. 

* Futures on Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 0.5 percent. 

* The S&P 500 rose 0.3 percent Friday.

Currencies

* The yen was flat at 110.53 per dollar. 

* The offshore yuan was steady at 6.8397 per dollar. 

* The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index declined 0.5 percent Friday.

* The euro bought $1.1438.

Bonds

* The yield on 10-year Treasuries was at 2.86 percent.

Commodities

* WTI crude jumped 0.7 percent to end Friday at $65.91 a barrel.

* Gold gained 0.9 percent to 1,184.25 an ounce.