Futures pointed to a lower open for Asian markets on Monday morning, with investors remaining focused on Korean Peninsula tensions and a barrage of Chinese economic data later in the morning.
North Korea tested a missile which “blew up” soon after its launch, following a military parade to commemorate the birthday of Kim Il-Sung over the weekend, a Reuters report said. The test launch came before U.S. Vice President Mike Pence arrived in Seoul for a trip that aims to reassure American allies in Asia.
Nikkei futures in Chicago traded at lower by 0.11 percent at 18,315, while futures in Osaka declined 0.41 percent at 18,260, against the benchmark index close of 18,335.63. Meanwhile, Australian SPI futures fell 0.64 percent at 5.852, compared to the ASX 200 close of 5,889.95.
Stateside, U.S. equities were lower across the board before the Good Friday holiday. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 0.67 percent or 138.61 points to close at 20,453.25, the S&P 500 trekked dropped 0.68 percent or 15.98 points to end at 2,328.95 and the Nasdaq trekked lower by 0.53 percent or 31.01 points to finish at 5,805.15.
On the energy front, Brent crude was higher by 3 cents to settle at $66.89 per barrel while U.S. crude was higher by 7 cents to settle at $53.18. Oil prices had hit a one-month high last Wednesday following news that OPEC could extend output cuts beyond June.
In currency markets, the dollar traded against a basket of rivals at 100.51 at 6:45 HK/SIN time. The dollar/yen traded at 108.62, firmly below the 110 handle it traded at a week ago. The Aussie strengthened to trade at $0.7578, its highest level since the beginning of the month.
Markets in Asia will be eyeing the release of key economic data from China later in the morning, including Q1 GDP figures at 10 am HK/SIN, March industrial production and March retail sales. Singapore is due to report March non-oil domestic exports (NODX) at 8:30am HK/SIN time.
Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand markets are closed for Easter Monday.