Asian stocks sink with Wall St as confusion, uncertainty reign

Agence France-Presse . Hong Kong | Published: 00:00, Dec 06,2018

 
 

Pedestrians walk past a stock indicator board of the Tokyo Stock Exchange in Tokyo, Japan on Wednesday. — AFP photo

Asian markets fell Wednesday following a rout on Wall Street, as investors were bombarded by a ‘perfect storm’ of problems from trade to Brexit that erased the positivity seen at the start of the week.
The glum mood overshadowed hints from Donald Trump at more time to resolve the China-US trade row, as well as soothing comments from China about their desire to push on with a weekend agreement between the world’s top economies.
Trading floors are awash with uncertainty over the agreement Trump hammered out with Xi Jinping to much fanfare — and an initial market rally — in Buenos Aires, with little clarity emerging and the US president shifting his tone.
While he hailed the deal at first, on Tuesday he warned on Twitter ‘remember, I am a Tariff Man’, adding ‘When people or countries come in to raid the great wealth of our Nation, I want them to pay for the privilege of doing so’.
Then, in another tweet he left open the door to an extension of the agreement’s 90-day timeline to end the row.
China’s commerce ministry Wednesday called the pact ‘successful’ and said it ‘will start with the implementation of the specific matters in which consensus has been reached, the sooner the better’, without providing more details.
Concerns are also mounting about the US economy after the difference in yields on two- and 10-year bonds narrowed, suggesting traders are increasingly concerned about longer-term prospects.
The are fears of an ‘inversion’ where short-term yields overtake long-term rates, which in the past has been the precursor to a recession.
The Dow dived 3.1 per cent, S&P 500 tanked 3.2 per cent and the Nasdaq plunged 3.8 per cent.
In Asia Hong Kong plunged 1.6 per cent, Shanghai ended 0.6 per cent lower and Tokyo was down 0.5 per cent.
Singapore shed 0.8 per cent and Seoul was 0.6 per cent off, while Wellington dived one per cent. Sydney slipped 0.8 per cent after data showed the Australian economy grew at a slower pace than expected in July-September. The Australian dollar dived more than one per cent.
In early European trade London fell one per cent, while Paris and Frankfurt were each more than one per cent lower.
The selling ‘has all the nasty hallmarks that traders typically call the perfect storm,’ said Stephen Innes, head of Asia-Pacific trade at OANDA. He said investors ‘are probably left feeling duped, tricked and maybe even snookered by some ill-advised backslapping comments post-G20’.
‘While trade war is certainly the number one driver of global risk sentiment, the current meltdown is morphing into a Hydra with familiar points of irritation ... coming to a head,’ he added.

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