Asian shares up from 3-week lows, but trade uncertainty nags

Andrew Galbraith, Reuters

Posted at Nov 22 2019 08:36 AM

Passersby are reflected on a stock quotation board outside a brokerage in Tokyo, Japan. Issei Kato, Reuters/file

SHANGHAI -- Asian equities rose on Friday, bouncing from a 3-week low touched a day earlier, but gains were capped by persistent worries over the status of trade negotiations between China and the United States.

Early in the Asian trading day, MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.12 percent. The index had fallen as much as 1.41 percent on Thursday, hitting its lowest level since Oct. 30, on concerns that US legislation on Hong Kong threatened to undermine trade talks between the world's two largest economies.

Australian shares were up 0.52 percent and Japan's Nikkei gained 0.1 percent.

Worries that a "phase one" trade deal between the United States and China might not occur until next year weighed on investor sentiment on Wall Street overnight, pulling the S&P 500 down 0.16 percent to 3,103.54, the Dow Jones down 0.2 percent to 27,766.29 and the Nasdaq Composite 0.24 percent lower to 8,506.21.

Those losses were tempered by China saying it was willing to work with the United States to resolve core trade concerns, and a report in the Wall Street Journal that China has invited top US trade negotiators for a new round of face-to-face talks in Beijing.

"I was ready to give up on a trade deal yesterday. But it seems the Chinese haven't so I, we, mustn't," said Greg McKenna, strategist at McKenna Macro.

But analysts at ANZ said in a morning note that whipsawing hopes over a deal were starting to wear on investors in the 16th month of the US-China trade war.

"It's fair to say that some signs of trade-headline fatigue are emerging in markets," analysts at ANZ said in a note.

While Asian stocks ticked higher, US Treasury yields were broadly unchanged after snapping three sessions of declines on Thursday.

The yield on benchmark 10-year Treasury notes was at 1.7723 percent, just a hair higher than its US close of 1.772 percent on Thursday. The policy-sensitive two-year yield, was at 1.6046 percent compared with a US close of 1.605 percent.

In currency markets, the safe-haven yen was a touch stronger, with the dollar dropping 0.05 percent to 108.58. The euro was up 0.05 percent at $1.1063.

The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of 6 major rivals, was unchanged at 97.993.

Oil prices retreated after hitting two-month highs on a Reuters report that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies are likely to extend existing output cuts until mid-2020.

US crude dipped 0.41 percent to $58.34 a barrel.

Spot gold edged up 0.04 percent to fetch $1,464.70 per ounce.