Asian shares on edge in choppy trading, dollar holds gains By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Global indices are displayed on a screen on the trading floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., August 19, 2021. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/File Photo

By Alun John

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Asian shares hovered just off six-week highs on Wednesday, as a more risk-averse mood spread into the market from the United States overnight due to worries about slowing growth that hurt equities while helping the dollar firm.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 0.13% having posted gains, if sometimes small, for 11 of the last 12 sessions.

reversed early losses and was last 0.42% higher after revised gross domestic product growth figures beat expectations for the world’s third-biggest economy. [L4N2Q90R4]

Most other moves were muted in early trading. Australia slipped 0.32%, Chinese blue chips fell 0.04%, and the Hong Kong benchmark gained 0.12%.

Medium-term prospects for the region also continue to weigh on shares in Asia. The MSCI regional benchmark is still well off all-time highs, unlike equity markets in the U.S. and Europe.

“The Asia Pacific region – following a zero-tolerance (coronavirus) pandemic policy and reliant on exports for growth – could underperform as global demand for goods softens and social distancing restrictions in many APAC cities are reimposed,” said David Chao, Global Market Strategist, Asia Pacific (ex-Japan) at Invesco

“This, coupled with the region’s much lower vaccination rate, could lead to a continued cycle of lockdown and releases.”

U.S. stock futures, the , gained 0.10%.

Overnight the MSCI world equity index retreated from a record high after seven consecutive days of gains.

U.S. shares had slipped, said analysts at ANZ in a note, on concerns that the U.S. economy may be starting to slow following “the weaker-than-expected jobs data on Friday evening after which markets were closed for a long weekend.”

In Europe, meanwhile, they said, “markets are focused on whether the European Central Bank will begin to scale back its bond purchase programme.”

The and fell 0.76% and 0.34% while the climbed 0.07% to another record close as investors switched out of cyclicals into blue-chip tech stocks.

The dollar held onto its overnight gains against a basket of its peers having risen from near a four week-low overnight alongside benchmark U.S. treasury yields.

Yields on dropped back in Asian hours and were last at 1.3570% compared to a U.S. close of 1.371% on Tuesday, after touching an eight-week high of 1.385% earlier in the day.

Higher yields had hurt non-interest-bearing gold overnight, but the spot price gained 0.18% on Wednesday to $1798.03 per ounce, edging back towards $1800 having fallen below the level in the previous session. [GOL/]

paused for breath after plunging 17% on Monday to a low of around $43,000 before recovering. It was last at $47,000, little changed in Asian hours.

oil meanwhile ticked up 0.29% to $68.55 a barrel as gained 0.1% to $71.73 per barrel. [O/R]

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