Focus on China trade data, dollar, pound

U.S. producer prices increased 0.4 percent in September, Reuters said, as investors awaited the release of the consumer inflation data due Friday U.S. time. That release is expected to show an annual inflation rate of 2.3 percent, according to forecasts compiled by FactSet.

Minutes released this week from the Federal Reserve’s previous meeting showed the central bank continued to be divided over the inflation outlook in the U.S.

The dollar was stable after edging up against a basket of currencies overnight. The dollar index stood at 93.090 at 8:24 a.m. HK/SIN.

Against the Japanese currency, the greenback slipped to trade at 112.19 yen.

Meanwhile, shares in the U.S. closed lower on Thursday after major U.S. financials reported quarterly results. Earnings from JPMorgan and Citigroup both beat expectations, but shares of the companies finished the session lower. The Dow Jones industrial average slid 0.14 percent, or 31.88 points, to close at 22,814.01.

Elsewhere, the pound was steady at $1.3262 at 8:25 a.m. HK/SIN — its highest level in more than a week. The currency had gained on Thursday after German outlet Handelsblatt reported that the U.K. could remain in the European Union for two more years.

In corporate news, Samsung Electronics said Friday third-quarter operating profit was likely to increase 179 percent compared to one year ago. The company estimated a record profit of 14.5 trillion won ($12.8 billion), above a median Reuters forecast of 14.3 trillion won. Shares of the company were off 0.88 percent, having rallied early this week on profit expectations.

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