Fast Asia Open: South Korea presidential election, Australia retail sales

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France isn’t the only major country with a pivotal presidential election this month.

South Koreans head to the polls on Tuesday for what many hope will be a moment of catharsis that can turn the page on one of the sorriest chapters in their nation’s history.

But the contest’s victor faces huge challenges — and expectations. The next president must restore trust in political institutions while reviving an economy plagued by high unemployment, stagnant wages and limited opportunity.

After a banner day for Asian stocks on Monday, momentum stalled in European and US trading hours, leaving the FTSE All-World index just 0.1 higher for the day. In New York, the S&P 500 closed flat, while the Nasdaq edged up marginally to a fresh record high as the Euro Stoxx 600 in Europe ended down 0.2 per cent.

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

Corporate earnings reports out today include Mitsubishi Corp, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Mitsubishi Motors, OCBC, Subaru Corp, Mitsui & Co, Asics Corp, Bharti Airtel, Sumitomo Corp and Asahi Glass.

The economic calendar for Tuesday should only be assembled with adult supervision (all times Hong Kong):

  • 08.00: Japan overtime pay
  • 09.30: Australia retail sales
  • 10.00: Sri Lanka interest rates decision
  • 20.00: South Korea polls close for presidential election
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