Asian Stocks Declined on Thursday

Asian stocks struggled for traction on Thursday after cautious comments from U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer deflated some optimism that China and the United States were closing in on a trade deal.

Asian Stocks

  • South Korea’s KOSPI shed 0.25 percent.
  • MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan slipped in and out of the red.
  • The Shanghai Composite Index dipped 0.3 percent due to more weak data weighted on sentiment.
  • Japan’s Nikkei lost 0.35 percent.

Global equities scaled a four-month high earlier this week helped by upbeat expectations towards U.S.-China trade talks, before pulling back after Lighthizer spoke.

“One suspects trade headlines will continue to throw around sentiment for a while yet. The issues are complex, the trade-offs real, and opinions divided,” ANZ strategists said in a note.

Currency Market

  • The dollar index against a basket of six major currencies stood little changed at 96.097.
  • The dollar traded at 110.87 yen.
  • The euro was a shade higher at $.1.1377 after slipping 0.15 percent on Wednesday.

Commodities

  • U.S. crude oil futures were steady at $56.96 per barrel.

Crude rallied after U.S. inventories unexpectedly plummeted and as Saudi Arabia brushed aside comments from U.S. President Donald Trump seeking to keep oil prices from climbing.

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