Sunday, March 18, 2018

TOKYO (Reuters) – Asian stocks stalled on Tuesday, halting an earlier rally after Wall Street shares lost steam, while the dollar sagged on the back of declining U.S. yields.

FILE PHOTO – A man walks past an electronic stock quotation board outside a brokerage in Tokyo, Japan, February 9, 2018. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS inched down 0.05 percent. The index had surged 1.5 percent on Monday following firm U.S. jobs numbers, while low wage growth eased concerns about inflation and faster central bank rate hikes.

But a mixed performance by U.S. shares overnight cooled investor risk appetite in Asia. The S&P 500 .SPX and the Dow .DJI slipped on Monday as the U.S. tariffs signed into law last week weighed on industrials, while gains in tech stocks boosted the Nasdaq .IXIC. [.N]

Focus now turns to U.S. consumer price data due later on Tuesday for the global markets to gauge inflation trends in the world’s largest economy and as a guide for upcoming Fed policy.

Australian shares lost 0.5 percent, South Korea’s KOSPI .KS11 fell 0.2 percent and Japan’s Nikkei .N225 shed 0.8 percent.

“Concerns towards trade conflict stemming from U.S. tariffs continue to linger in the background, capping risk appetite, pushing Treasury yields lower which in turn weighing on the dollar,” said Junichi Ishikawa, senior FX strategist at IG Securities in Tokyo.

“That said, there are still bright spots that bode well for broader risk sentiment, as the Nasdaq’s gains shows.”

Separately, U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday blocked Singapore-based semiconductor maker Broadcom Ltd’s (AVGO.O) takeover bid of Qualcomm Inc (QCOM.O) on grounds of national security, ending what would have been the technology industry’s biggest deal ever.

The dollar index against a basket of six major currencies was flat at 89.900 .DXY after shedding about 0.2 percent overnight.

The euro was a shade higher at $1.2339 EUR=, adding to overnight gains of 0.25 percent.

The U.S. currency was down 0.15 percent at 106.280 yen JPY= after a renewed political scandal in Japan threw doubt over the future of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s economic policies and pushed it off last week’s peak above 107.00.

The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note yield US10YT=RR stood little changed at 2.873 percent. The yield declined by 2.5 basis points overnight.

In commodities, crude oil prices extended losses after sliding the previous day amid ongoing concerns over rising U.S. output.

U.S. crude futures CLc1 lost 0.05 percent to $61.33 per barrel after losing 0.8 percent the previous day.

Reporting by Shinichi Saoshiro; Editing by Sam Holmes


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