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Asia-Pacific stocks edge higher; private survey on China’s factory activity in May ahead

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SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia-Pacific appeared set for a lower start on Wednesday following overnight losses on Wall Street, with investors looking ahead to the release of a private survey on Chinese factory activity for May.

Japanese stocks looked poised for a lower start. The Nikkei futures contract in Chicago was at 27,235 while its counterpart in Osaka was at 27,220, lower than the Nikkei 225’s last close at 27,279.80.

Futures also pointed to opening declines for Australian stocks, with the SPI futures contract at 7,186, against the S&P/ASX 200’s last close at 7,211.20. Australia’s first-quarter gross domestic product data is set to be released at 9:30 a.m. HK/SIN today.

Markets in South Korea are closed on Wednesday for a holiday.

China’s Caixin/Markit manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index for May is set to be out at 9:45 a.m. HK/SIN on Wednesday.

China’s official manufacturing PMI for May, released Tuesday, came in at 49.6 — an improvement over April’s reading of 47.4. The May reading was above the 48.6 level expected from a Reuters poll but still below the 50-point mark that separates growth from contraction. PMI readings are sequential and represent month-on-month expansion or contraction.

Overnight on Wall Street, the S&P 500 shed 0.63% to 4,132.15. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 222.84 points, or 0.67%, to 32,990.12. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite dipped 0.41% to 12,081.39.

Currencies

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 101.752 after a recent decline from above 102.

The Japanese yen traded at 128.75 per dollar, weaker than levels below 127.8 seen against the greenback earlier in the week. The Australian dollar was at $0.7179, still stronger than levels below $0.708 seen last week.

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