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When you’re dealing with North Korea, the absolute last thing you need is a Nobel Prize-winning former president coming in and helping broker some kind of rapprochement.

At least that’s the message the Trump administration has delivered to Jimmy Carter, who has previously served as an envoy between Washington and Pyongyang, based on concerns that any such contact could hurt efforts to put pressure on the regime of Kim Jong Un.

On Wall Street stocks struggled to maintain upward momentum and the euro lost ground on Thursday as investors digested remarks from the European Central Bank’s president Mario Draghi and weighed the prospects of Donald Trump’s proposed tax reforms.

In Asia Pacific equities, futures tip Sydney’s S&P/ASX 200 index to climb 0.1 per cent when trading begins, while in Tokyo the Topix is expected to dip 0.3 per cent at the open and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng is set to shed 0.2 per cent.

Corporate earnings reports out today include (deep breath) Sony Corp, Fujitsu, Japan Rail East, Japan Rail West, Denso Corp, China Pacific Insurance Group, Mitsubishi Electric, Sharp, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Agricultural Bank of China, Bank of China, Bank of Communications, China Shenhua Energy, Suntory Beverage & Food, Nippon Densetsu, Mazda Motor, Japan Airlines, Daiwa Securities and Yamazaki Baking.

The economic calendar for Friday is no slouch, either (all times Hong Kong):

  • 07.00: South Korea industrial production
  • 07.30: Japan jobless rate, consumer price index, retail sales and industrial production
  • 08.30: Taiwan Q1 GDP
  • 09.30: Australia Q1 producer price index and private sector credit
  • 10.00: Singapore unemployment rate
  • 12.00: Japan vehicle production
  • 13.00: Japan housing starts
  • 15.30: Thailand foreign exchange reserves, imports, exports and trade balance
  • 17.30: Sri Lanka consumer price index
  • Macau’s hotel occupancy rate as well as Vietnam’s consumer price index, retail sales, imports, exports and trade balance are also expected out today.

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