Asia stocks open little changed, oil nudges US$50

A man looks at a stock prices board showing the numbers on the Nikkei 225 at the Tokyo Stock Exchange.
A man looks at a stock prices board showing the numbers on the Nikkei 225 at the Tokyo Stock Exchange. PHOTO: AFP

SYDNEY (BLOOMBERG) - Asian stocks were little changed at the start of the trading week, as raw-material producers advanced after a surge in commodity prices bolstered optimism that the global economy can gather momentum. Oil extended last week's strongest rally this year.

Japan's Topix index swung between gains and losses, and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 0.3 per cent. South Korea's Kospi index lost 0.1 per cent.

Contracts on the FTSE China A50 Index advanced 0.3 per cent, while futures on Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index were 0.1 per cent higher.

Futures on the S&P 500 Index fell 0.1 per cent as of 9.11am in Tokyo.

Investors will be focusing on China's official manufacturing and non-manufacturing purchasing managers' indexes for July as they headline a jam-packed economic calendar for the Asia-Pacific region. The US economy expanded 2.6 per cent in the second quarter, indicating that the world's largest economy is growing steadily. Meanwhile, Japan's industrial output for June rose 1.6 per cent from the previous month, beating forecasts of 1.5 per cent and rebounding amid global demand.

Corporate earnings also remain of interest, with HSBC Holdings, Apple, Tesla, Berkshire Hathaway and Toyota Motor slated to unveil results throughout the week.

Geopolitics will be back in focus this week, after Russia ordered the US to slash staff at its diplomatic missions in the country in retaliation for new sanctions approved by Congress, while North Korea on Friday test-fired an intercontinental ballistic missile for the second time in weeks, threatening to sour relations between the US and China.

The yen rose 0.1 per cent to 110.53 per US dollar, near Friday's 1 1/2-month high, and the euro bought US$1.1740.

The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index rose 0.1 per cent after declining 0.4 per cent last week for a third week of retreats.

West Texas Intermediate rose 0.3 per cent to US$49.87 after briefly testing above US$50 a barrel for the first time since May.

Gold was little changed at US$1,269.66 an ounce, set for a sixth month of gains in seven.