Japanese stocks set for muted open as investors watch virus situation

SINGAPORE — Stocks in Japan were set to open little changed on Monday as investors continue to monitor the situation surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.

Futures pointed to a muted open for Japanese stocks. The Nikkei futures contract in Chicago was at 28,660 while its counterpart in Osaka was at 28,630. That compared against the Nikkei 225’s last close at 28,631.45.

Shares in Australia edged higher in morning trade, with the S&P/ASX 200 up 0.24%.

Amid the pandemic, China surpassed the U.S. as the world’s largest recipient of foreign direct investment, according to a report released Sunday from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.

China brought in $163 billion in inflows last year, compared to $134 billion attracted by the U.S., according to the report.

Developments around Covid-19 are likely to be watched by investors, as the world races to adapt against the mutating coronavirus which has produced a number of potentially more infectious variants.

Globally, more than 99 million people have been infected by Covid-19 and at least 2,127,206 lives have been taken, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Currencies

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 90.237 after seeing a recent decline from levels above 90.6.

The Japanese yen traded at 103.79 per dollar following levels below 103.5 against the greenback seen last week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7719, off levels above $0.776 seen last week.