- Asian stock markets were mixed on Thursday, after data showed that China’s exports rose less than expected in June.

During late Asian trade, Hong Kong''s Hang Seng rose 0.3%, China’s Shanghai Composite advanced 0.19%, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 closed 0.22% higher, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 ended down 0.56%.

Data released earlier showed that Chinese exports in June climbed 7.2% from a year earlier, missing expectations for a gain of 10.6%. Imports rose 5.5%, compared to forecasts for a 5.8% increase.

China’s trade surplus narrowed to $31.6 billion last month from a surplus of $35.92 billion in May, compared to estimates for a surplus of $35.0 billion.

Shares in mainland China and Hong Kong inched higher following the data, amid expectations policymakers in Beijing will have to do more to boost the recovery with further stimulus measures to meet its 7.5% growth target.

Meanwhile, in Australia, the ASX/200 Index rose modestly after data showed that the economy added 15,900 jobs in June, surpassing expectations for an increase of 12,000. The jobless rate ticked up to 6.0% last month from 5.9% in May.

The Australian dollar weakened to 93.74 U.S. cents from 94.20 on Wednesday.

Elsewhere, in Tokyo, the Nikkei ended lower after data showed that May machinery orders plunged 14.3% from a year earlier, compared to expectations for a 9.5% increase, leading officials to cut their outlook on orders.

Looking ahead, European stock market futures pointed to a higher open. The DJ Euro Stoxx 50 futures pointed to a loss of 0.1%, France’s CAC 40 dipped 0.1%, London’s FTSE 100 indicated a rise of 0.1%, while Germany''s DAX picked up 0.1%.

Across the Atlantic, U.S. equity markets pointed to a weak open. The Dow pointed to a loss of 0.1%, the S&P 500 inched down 0.1%, while the Nasdaq 100 indicated a decline of 0.1%.

Minutes of the Federal Reserve’s June policy meeting released Wednesday showed that officials agreed to end the central bank’s asset purchase program in October.

However, the minutes revealed little new information on when the bank could start to hike rates. The central bank acknowledged that the economy is continuing to improve but officials remain divided over the outlook for inflation.

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