Major U.S. indexes closed lower on Wednesday — two notching their first decline of the year — setting the stage for Asia’s Thursday trading day.

China bond purchases in the spotlight 

One reason cited for the decline was a report that China, the largest buyer of U.S. Treasurys, could potentially slow or halt its purchases following recommendation from officials in Beijing. That suggestion, reported by Bloomberg on Wednesday from sources familiar with the matter, could not immediately be verified by CNBC.

In the wake of that, the Dow Jones industrial average slipped 0.07 percent, or 16.67, to end at 25,369.13, the SP 500 shed 0.11 percent to close at 2,748.23 and the Nasdaq composite edged down 0.14 percent to finish at 7,153.57.

The news also saw the dollar slide against a basket of currencies in the last session. The dollar index was 0.18 percent lower at 92.365 at 6:44 a.m. HK/SIN, but off a low of 91.922 seen overnight.

Against the yen, the dollar traded at 111.40, having touched its lowest levels since November overnight.

The dollar had already been on the back foot against the Japanese currency following news earlier this week that the Bank of Japan had slightly reduced its purchases of Japanese government bonds.

What’s on tap

Here’s the economic calendar for Thursday (all times in HK/SIN):

  • 8:30 a.m.: Australia November retail sales
  • 12:00 p.m.: Malaysia November industrial production

Investors will also watch for U.S. Producer Price Index and jobless claims data due during the stateside morning.

— CNBC’s Fred Imbert contributed to this report.


News Reporter

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