Global Markets: Asia shares dip, dollar gains on weak sterling
Asian shares drifted lower on Wednesday after a lacklustre performance by Wall Street, while the dollar got a lift from robust US retail data and a Brexit-driven dive in the pound.
Asian shares drifted lower on Wednesday after a lacklustre performance by Wall Street, while the dollar got a lift from robust US retail data and a Brexit-driven dive in the pound. Oil prices also took a spill on hints US tensions with Iran could be easing and as data showed stockpiles fell by less than expected last week.
Early action was muted with MSCI`s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan off 0.18%. Japan`s Nikkei eased 0.3% and South Korea Kospi 0.8%. E-Mini futures for the S&P 500 were flat.
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A surprisingly strong reading on US retail sales released overnight had outweighed weakness in industrial production for the June quarter and boosted the dollar.
Yet, it barely budged market wagers on a Federal Reserve rate cut this month, with Chicago Fed President Charles Evans touting 50 basis points of easing.
Futures are 100% priced for a cut of 25 basis points, and imply a 27% chance of 50 basis points.
"We do not expect these solid (retail) results to impact the Fed`s decision to cut rates at the end of the month," said Michelle Girard, chief U.S. economist at NatWest Markets.
"The Fed knows the US consumer is strong; policymakers are worried about the downside risks associated with global growth and weak manufacturing/business investment, which is why they believe a rate cut is appropriate."
Analysts at Barclays were even more dovish, arguing persistent uncertainty and soft inflation warranted quarter-point cuts in July, September, and December.
Expectations of policy stimulus, and the resulting drop in bond yields, helped counter concerns about corporate profits.
JPMorgan Chase & Co and Wells Fargo & Co beat quarterly profit estimates but reported weaker net interest income. Bank of America and Netflix report on Wednesday.
The Dow eased 0.09%, while the S&P 500 lost 0.34% and the Nasdaq 0.43%. Not helping the mood was a threat from U.S. President Donald Trump to put tariffs on another $325 billion of Chinese goods.
In currency markets, sterling was the star for all the wrong reasons. It slid 0.9% overnight to 27-month lows amid fears the UK could tumble out of the European Union with no trade deal to soften the blow.
The pound was last at $1.2409 , a big come-down from its March peaks of $1.3383.
The dollar was a major beneficiary at 97.381 <.DXY> on a basket of currencies, having risen 0.5% overnight. The euro fell back to $1.1210 , while the dollar firmed to 108.27 yen .
The dollar`s gains tarnished gold a little, with the precious metal easing to $1,403.57 per ounce from a high above $1,418 on Tuesday.
Oil prices tried to steady in early trade after falling more than 3% overnight. Brent crude futures edged up 17 cents to $64.52, while U.S. crude was flat at $57.62 a barrel.
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