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As it turns out, House Republicans did indeed have the votes.

President Donald Trump celebrated his first big win on Capitol Hill by inviting Republican lawmakers to the White House after the House of Representatives voted to replace Obamacare, bringing the GOP a key step closer to its seven-year promise to dump the healthcare law despite a lack of clarity on the repeal bill’s likely impact or cost.

Republicans hailed the result as a significant step towards scrapping Obamacare, which was one of the top issues for the party’s core voters in the 2016 election. But Democrats, who have started calling the bill “Trumpcare”, said it would raise premiums and force millions of Americans to lose health insurance.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 ended 0.1 per cent higher as mounting expectations that the Federal Reserve would raise interest rates next month kept US Treasury prices under pressure and helped push gold to a six-week low, even as the dollar staged a broad retreat.

In Asia Pacific equities, futures tip Sydney’s S&P/ASX 200 to dip 0.1 per cent at the open, while the Hang Seng is set to fall 0.2 per cent when trading begins in Hong Kong. Tokyo’s stock market is off on Friday for Children’s Day.

Corporate earnings reports out today include Macquarie Group and Sands China.

The economic calendar for Friday fakes left, then goes right (all times Hong Kong):

  • 08:30: Taiwan consumer and wholesale inflation
  • 08:30: Hong Kong Nikkei private sector PMI
  • 09.30: Philippines consumer inflation
  • 11.00: Reserve Bank of Australia statement on monetary policy
  • 12.00: Malaysia imports, exports and trade balance
  • 15.00: Malaysia foreign exchange reserves
  • 15.30: Thailand foreign exchange reserves
  • 16.20: Taiwan foreign exchange reserves
  • 16.30: Hong Kong retail sales
  • Indonesia Q1 GDP and Philippines foreign exchange reserves are also expected out today.

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