Asian stocks step back as investors brace for Fed, eye trade row

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A man walks past electronic boards showing Japan’s Nikkei average, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and foreign exchange rates outside a brokerage at a business district in Tokyo

By Hideyuki Sano

TOKYO (Reuters) – Asian shares fell on Wednesday as investors braced for a Federal Reserve policy decision later in the day and any clues it might give on future rate hikes that could alter the course of global economic growth and corporate earnings.

Trade frictions between the United States and China were also back on radar ahead of Friday, when Washington has said it will release a list of some $50 billion worth of Chinese goods that will be subject to a 25 percent tariff.

Spread-betters expect all major European indexes including Britain’s FTSE (), France’s Cac () and Germany’s Dax () to open flat to slightly higher.

But MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan () dropped 0.5 percent, erasing the slim gains made following Tuesday’s meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

“For Asian markets, tariffs will be the biggest concerns in the near term,” said Yukino Yamada, senior strategist at Daiwa Securities.

In a stark reminder of the potential damage from the trade dispute, Hong Kong-listed shares of Chinese telecommunications giant ZTE Corp (HK:) fell as much as 41.5 percent, wiping off about $3 billion of its market value, as it resumed trade after agreeing to pay up to $1.4 billion in penalties to the U.S. government.

Its Shenzhen shares (SZ:) fell by their 10 percent limit. The CSI300 index of mainland shares () fell 0.7 percent.

Japan’s Nikkei () eked out gains of 0.5 percent, thanks to a dip in the yen and following a 0.17 percent gain in the U.S. S&P 500 ()

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