Shanghai’s STAR market, oil, currencies in focus

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Stocks in Asia were set to trade lower on Monday, as investors await the launch of a Nasdaq-style technology board on the Shanghai Stock Exchange.

Futures pointed to a lower open for the Nikkei 225 in Japan, with the Nikkei futures contract in Chicago at 21,330, as compared to the index’s last close at 21,466.99.

Shares in Australia were also set to see declines. The SPI futures contract was at 6,700.30, as compared to the S&P/ASX 200’s last close at 6,700.30.

The STAR market will launch in Shanghai on Monday, when the first batch of 25 companies make their public debut later today. The IPOs were 1,695 times oversubscribed among retail investors, Reuters reported last Wednesday, setting the stage for a scramble in the secondary market when trading begins.

Asia-Pacific Market Indexes Chart

In market action stateside, stocks saw their worst performance since late May last week. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite fell more than 1% each, notching their biggest weekly loss since late May, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 0.6%.

Those moves came amid the ongoing earnings season, with more than 15% of S&P 500 companies having reported earnings so far. Of those firms, 79% have posted a better-than-expected profit, according to FactSet data.

Meanwhile, tensions remained high in the Middle East. Iran said it seized a British-flagged oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz last Friday, claiming that the vessel was “violating international regulations.”

Oil prices, however, moved with less velocity than might have been seen during other periods of tension.

“Tensions between Iran and the West continue to escalate with the tit for tat increasing in magnitude and thus increasing the risk of someone making an overstep leading to a military conflict, notwithstanding the fact that Iran, the US and its allies continue to say that they do not want a conflict,” Rodrigo Catril, senior foreign exchange strategist at National Australia Bank, wrote in a note.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 97.142 after touching levels below 96.9 last week.

The Japanese yen traded at 107.77 against the dollar after seeing levels above 108.0 in the previous trading week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7042 after touching lows below $0.702 last week.

Here’s a look at some of the data set to be released later today:

  • Hong Kong: Consumer Price Index for June at 4:30 p.m. HK/SIN
  • South Korea earnings: Samsung SDS, Samsung Biologics, Samsung Heavy, Hyundai Motor, Hyundai Heavy

— Reuters and CNBC’s Fred Imbert contributed to this report.

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