China industrial profits, coronavirus vaccine, currencies, oil

SINGAPORE — Stocks in Japan were set to trade lower at the Friday open as investors await data on China’s industrial profits for October.Markets will also scrutinize concerns over the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine candidate, with results and methods used in their phase three vaccine trials under criticism from experts in the U.S.Futures pointed to a lower open for stocks in Japan. The Nikkei futures contract in Chicago was at 26,470 while its counterpart in Osaka was at 26,450. That compared against the Nikkei 225’s last close at 26,537.31.Meanwhile, shares in Australia dipped in early trade, with the S&P/ASX 200 down by around 0.2%.Data on China’s industrial profits for October is set to be out at around 9:30 a.m. HK/SIN.Vaccine concernsAs the race for a coronavirus vaccine continues, questions are being raised over AstraZeneca’s vaccine candidate, for which the firm said combined results revealed it to be 70% effective.Markets had gotten a boost earlier this week after the interim analysis of clinical trials were released by AstraZeneca. That development had come on the back of a string of encouraging vaccine results after late-stage trial readouts from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, raising hopes of a recovery from the pandemic that has crippled economies globally.CurrenciesThe U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 92.031 following its decline earlier this week from levels above 92.4.The Japanese yen traded at 104.25 per dollar, still off levels below 104 against the greenback seen earlier in the week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7356, after rising from levels below $0.732 earlier this week.What’s on tap:China: Industrial profits for October at 9:30 a.m. HK/SIN— CNBC’s Natasha Turak and Sam Meredith contributed to this report.

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