Shares in Asia Pacific were set to trade mixed at the open as investors await upcoming comments from U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell.

Futures pointed to a mixed open for Japanese stocks. The Nikkei futures contract in Chicago was at 23,295 while its counterpart in Osaka was at 23,280. That compared against the Nikkei 225’s last close at 23,290.86.

Stocks in Australia were poised to see a dip. The SPI futures contract was at 6,095.0, as compared to the S&P/ASX 200’s last close at 6,116.40.

Investors will await the upcoming Thursday speech stateside from the Fed’s Powell, where he is expected to introduce a new pandemic-era tool to combat the economic impact of Covid-19 and foster inflation in the U.S.

On the coronavirus front, biotech firm Moderna announced Wednesday that its potential coronavirus vaccine generated a promising immune response in elderly patients during an early stage clinical trial.

Overnight on Wall Street, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite rose to fresh record highs. The broader market index gained 1% to end its trading day stateside at 3,478.73 while the Nasdaq popped 1.7% to close at 11,665.06. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 83.48 points, or 0.3% to finish its trading day at 28,331.92.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 93.006 in a trading week that has seen it above 93.2 at times.

The Japanese yen traded at 105.89 per dollar following a strengthening yesterday from levels around 106.5 against the greenback. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7239 after a rise yesterday from levels around $0.72.

Here’s a look at what’s on tap:

  • China: Industrial profits for July at 9:30 a.m. HK/SIN
  • South Korea: Bank of Korea meeting and interest rate decision