Asian shares waver as U.S. midterm vote yields mixed outcome

Yuri Kageyama, The Associated Press
Published Wednesday, November 7, 2018 12:34AM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, November 7, 2018 3:29AM EST

TOKYO — Asian shares erased earlier gains to close mostly lower Wednesday, with the Democrats looking set to regain a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, complicating President Donald Trump’s policymaking agenda.

The outcome of the midterm election was largely expected but it raised uncertainty about the way ahead, especially for Trump’s pursuit of an “America first” trade strategy that has drawn the world’s two biggest economies into a trade war.

Most Asian benchmarks spent a large share of the day in positive territory but retreated in late trading. The future contracts for the Dow and the S&P 500 were marginally higher.

“European and U.S. futures are struggling to make up their mind as investors digest the implication of the midterm election,” said Naeem Aslam of Thinkmarkets.com.

“One thing is for certain, the midterm election was mainly about Trump. President’s policies have divided the country and this was the first major political test of his presidency,” he said in a commentary.

Wall Street, which closed higher overnight, appeared on an upbeat course. U.S. futures were higher, with the contract for the Dow up 0.1 per cent at 25,661.00 and the S&P 500 adding 0.1 per cent to 2,762.00.

In Asia, Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 gave up 0.3 per cent to finish at 22,085.80 and South Korea’s Kospi slipped 0.5 per cent to 2,078.69. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dropped 0.5 per cent to 26,056.39, while the Shanghai Composite fell 0.7 per cent to 2,641.34.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.4 per cent to 5,896.90. Shares also rose in Singapore, Taiwan and Indonesia.

A primary concern is the potential for dents in pan-Pacific trade that might hobble growth in the area’s export-reliant economies. Trump

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