Back in Asia, futures tipped a higher open for Japanese equities. Nikkei futures traded in Chicago were up 0.18 percent at 19,775 and Osaka futures were 0.16 percent higher at 19,770 — compared to the Nikkei 225’s last close of 19,738.71.

Meanwhile, Australian SPI futures were down 1.05 percent at 5,705 against the benchmark S&P/ASX 200’s previous close of 5,765.66.

In the U.S., major indexes closed lower as investors digested geopolitical tensions. The Dow Jones industrial average slid 0.17 percent, or 36.44 points, to close at 22,048.70, the S&P 500 edged down 0.04 percent, or 0.90 points, to end at 2,474.02 and the Nasdaq declined 0.28 percent, or 18.13 points, to finish at 6,352.33.

On the earnings front, Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing announced Wednesday that its second-quarter net profit climbed 12.5 percent to HK$1.8 billion ($230 million), higher than an average analyst forecast of HK$1.6 billion, Reuters said.

Several Asian corporates are expected to report earnings during the day. Those include Australia’s AMP, Japan Post Bank, as well as Hong Kong-listed MTR and China Mobile.

Oil prices rose almost 1 percent overnight on headlines about refineries stateside processing record levels of crude, Reuters said. Brent crude gained 1.1 percent to settle at $52.70 a barrel and U.S. crude rose 0.8 percent to settle at $49.56.

In central bank news, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand held steady on interest rates at 1.75 percent on Thursday. While the RBNZ said first-quarter growth was softer than expected, the central bank also said it continued to anticipate gradual inflation, Reuters reported.

The Philippine central bank will also make its monetary policy decision later in the day.

The day’s economic calendar for the region is fairly quiet (all times in HK/SIN):

  • 7:50 a.m.: Japan June machinery orders
  • 9:30 a.m.: Australia June home loans
  • 12:00 p.m.: Malaysia June retail sales
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