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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.