Asian stocks struggled for traction on Wednesday
Asian stocks struggled for traction on Wednesday, as relief over Washington’s temporary relaxation of curbs against China’s Huawei Technologies failed to offset deeper worries about an intensifying trade war between the world’s two largest economies.
- In opening European trade, the pan-region Euro Stoxx 50 futures were down 0.03%.
- Germany’s DAX futures were up 0.01% and Britain’s FTSE futures were up 0.28%.
- The Shanghai Composite Index was last a fraction lower.
- Australian stocks were flat and South Korea’s KOSPI edged up 0.2%.
- Japan’s Nikkei added 0.1%.
- MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan moved in and out of the red and was last 0.1% higher.
- The dollar traded at 110.460 yen after popping up to a two-week high of 110.675 against the safe-haven Japanese currency overnight as U.S. yields rose in the wake of gains by Wall Street shares.
- The euro was little changed at $1.1156 after brushing a 2-1/2-week trough of $1.1142.
- The pound was steady at $1.2712. Sterling had sunk to a four-month low of $1.2685 on Tuesday on Brexit worries but bounced back after British Prime Minister Theresa May proposed a “new” Brexit deal.
- The Australian dollar, sensitive to shifts in risk sentiment, inched down 0.1% to $0.6878.
- In commodities, U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were down 0.89% at $62.57 per barrel after American Petroleum Institute data showed that U.S. crude stockpiles rose unexpectedly last week.
- Oil was also pressured by Saudi Arabia reiterating that it would aim to keep the market balanced and try to reduce tensions in the Middle East.
- Brent crude futures lost 0.62% to $71.73 per barrel.