Thursday, 24 May 2018

Japan leads Asian stocks lower; Yen jumps on trade

Japan stocks led declines in most Asian equities, with the yen extending gains amid more twists and turns on trade and emerging-market risks. The dollar was steady and 10-year Treasury yields extended their decline below 3%.

Automakers were the biggest drag on the Topix index, as the yen reached the session’s high after President Donald Trump ordered consideration of a probe into automobile imports.

Shares fell in Australia and South Korea and were little changed in Hong Kong.

All major US equity benchmarks rose Wednesday after minutes from the most recent Federal Reserve meeting showed American central bankers in no hurry to accelerate the pace of rate hikes even as the economy continues to improve. Oil slipped.

Traders need to navigate escalating geopolitical and trade risks, from Trump’s decision to back away from a recently announced trade agreement with China to his appearing to express pessimism on a planned summit meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Meanwhile, questions are swirling around the Italian populist government’s economic policies and shaky emerging markets after Turkey raised interest rates to halt a slide in the lira.

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