Stocks Look Mixed With Trade Talks, Fed in Focus

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(July 29): Asian stocks looked set to start the week on a mixed note as U.S.-China trade talks resume and the Federal Reserve is expected to deliver its first interest-rate cut in a decade.

Futures pointed to modest gains in Japan and Australia, while Hong Kong contracts inched lower. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite indexes hit fresh records Friday as technology shares rallied. Treasuries were little changed and the dollar advanced against its major peers after White House adviser Larry Kudlow said the U.S. has ruled out plans to intervene in foreign-exchange markets.

Investors will be picking through any developments as Chinese and American negotiators meet for two days of talks Tuesday, three months after their trade talks broke down, though neither side is holding much hope for a breakthrough. Meanwhile, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell’s post-meeting press conference later in the week will provide an opportunity to gauge the trajectory of U.S. rates after the central bank is tipped to boost stimulus.

Corporate earnings will remain a focal point as investors remain vigilant of any signs a global economy slowdown is being reflected in companies’ bottom lines. Among major earnings this week, Apple, Rio Tinto and carmakers Toyota and BMW.

Here are some of the key events to watch as the week unfolds:

    Earnings include: Nintendo, Qualcomm, AMD, Siemens, Sony, Credit Suisse, Nomura, Toyota, Honda, Ferrari, GM, BMW, Rio Tinto, ConocoPhillips, BP, Shell, Vale, Heineken, GE, Altria.
    Bank of Japan rate decision and Governor Haruhiko Kuroda briefing are due Tuesday.
    U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and his team meet their Chinese counterparts in Shanghai Tuesday.
    Fed officials begin their two-day meeting on monetary policy in Washington Tuesday. Chairman Jerome Powell will hold a press conference following the FOMC’s decision Wednesday.
    Australia inflation data is due Wednesday.
    There’s a Bank of England policy decision due Thursday.
    U.S. July jobs report is due Friday.

These are the main moves in markets:
Stocks

    Futures on the Nikkei 225 rose 0.3% earlier.
    Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index contracts rose 0.3%.
    Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index futures dipped 0.1%.
    The S&P 500 Index gained 0.7% Friday.

Currencies

    The yen was steady at 108.65 per dollar.
    The offshore yuan was at 6.8819 per dollar.
    The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index gained 0.2% to the highest in more than five weeks Friday.
    The euro traded at $1.1127.
    The pound was at $1.2381.

Bonds

    The yield on 10-year Treasuries dipped one basis point to 2.07% Friday.

Commodities

    West Texas Intermediate crude increased 0.3% to $56.20 a barrel Friday.
    Gold was up 0.3% to $1,418.90 an ounce. - Bloomberg