Friday, 26 May, 2017

Asian stocks slip, yen and gold rise as global risks weigh

Juana Turner | 15 April, 2017, 05:49

"A degree of uncertainty has found its way into previously seemingly bulletproof financial markets", wrote analysts at ANZ."There is clearly some nervousness out there, with tensions around North Korea ratcheting higher and adding to an already heightened geopolitical environment". Shares were mostly lower Tuesday in Asia amid growing wariness over tensions with North Kor.

"Risk sentiment is not strong at the moment because of tensions in North Korea and also risk of a recent rising Melenchon at the French presidential election date".

The Dow edged down 6.72 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 20,651.30, the Nasdaq dipped 14.15 points or 0.2 percent to 5,866.77 and the S&P 500 slipped 3.38 points or 0.1 percent to 2,353.78. Britain's FTSE 100 gained 0.6 percent to 7,383.

Wall Street's slow start was compounded by a lack of top tier economic data and as they kept moves tight ahead of the start of first quarter earnings season on Thursday.

The newspaper said that Washington's demand, made last week, did not specify any trade areas for discussion, but reported that a US government source said the Trump administration mainly wants to discuss cars and agriculture. On Monday, South Korea and China agreed that tougher sanctions would be imposed on North Korea if either long-range or nuclear missile tests were carried out. The G-7 powers, meanwhile, want to put more pressure on Russian Federation to stop backing the Syrian government, which they blame for a deadly chemical attack last week. The benchmark gauge finished 0.1 percent lower on Tuesday, while the Stoxx Europe 600 was little changed.

Spot gold, which along with the yen is perceived as a haven asset in times of reduced risk appetite, climbed to US$1,279.80 an ounce overnight, the highest since early November.

TROUBLED TOSHIBA: Shares of the Japanese electronics maker extended losses, falling more than 2 percent after it raised doubts about its ability to survive as a company. The yield on 10-year USA notes was flat after closing below 2.3 percent for the first time since November, and gold remained at the highest level this year. It said it racked up a 532.5 billion yen ($4.8 billion) loss for the April-December 2016 period.

ASIA'S DAY: Tokyo's Nikkei 225 fell 0.7 percent to 18,426.84 and Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 lost 0.7 percent to 5,889.90. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index was in similar territory, declining by 0.31 percent.

Energy companies led US stock indexes to modest gains in afternoon trading Monday as the price of crude oil headed higher for the fifth day in a row.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was near flat. Oil rose 11 cents to $53.51 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

The US currency had slid more than one per cent the previous day from highs of 110.920, with the 110.00 threshold finally being breached after several close calls over the past few weeks. Brent crude, the standard for worldwide oil prices, was up 52 cents, or 0.9 percent, at $55.76 a barrel in London. It jumped 74 cents the day before.

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