Moneycontrol
Dec 06, 2017 07:41 AM IST | Source: Reuters

Asia stocks pressured by Wall Street losses, dollar sags

Australian stocks and South Korea's KOSPI were down 0.2 percent, respectively. Japan's Nikkei lost 0.5 percent.

Asian stocks slipped on Wednesday, pressured by losses on Wall Street as the technology sector stuttered yet again after a brief rebound, while the dollar sagged on lower long-term US yields.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan inched down 0.2 percent.

Australian stocks and South Korea's KOSPI were down 0.2 percent, respectively. Japan's Nikkei lost 0.5 percent.

The S&P 500 information technology index barely rose overnight as it gave up much of the 1.4 percent intraday gains. The year's top-performing sector was still down nearly 4 percent over the past week, with investors shifting money to banks, retailers and other stocks seen as likely to benefit the most from tax cuts promised by US President Donald Trump.

As a result the S&P 500 fell for the third straight session overnight. The Dow and Nasdaq also retreated.

"The retreat in US shares coincides with profit taking by investors before they close their books for the year-end. A lot of such year-end window dressing already appears to have taken place in emerging market equities," said Kota Hirayama, senior emerging markets economist at SMBC Nikko Securities in Tokyo.

"The main focal point for emerging market equities is how US yields move towards the year end. The Federal Reserve's monetary policy stance for next year bears close watching due to its impact on US yields, and in turn the various equity markets."

Fed funds futures prices showed that investors see a rate increase at Federal Reserve's Dec. 12-13 meeting as a done deal and much of the focus is on the outlook for rates in 2018 and beyond.

The two-year Treasury yield reached a nine-year high overnight as the market increasingly expected the US Congress to pass tax reform legislation and the Fed to tighten policy.

But the 10-year Treasury yield fell overnight, flattening the yield curve further. The curve has flattened as investors see limited room for long-term US inflation.

The dollar dipped, weighed by sagging long-term US yields. The dollar index against six major currencies slipped 0.05 percent to 93.337 .

The greenback dipped 0.1 percent to 112.470 yen and the euro was little changed at USD 1.1824 after shedding 0.35 percent the previous day.

The pound extended overnight losses and last stood at USD 1.3412 for a loss of 0.2 percent. Sterling fell to as low as USD 1.3370 on Tuesday on disappointment after British Prime Minister Theresa May failed to clinch a deal to open talks on post-Brexit free trade with the European Union.

In commodities, US crude oil futures were down 0.3 percent at USD 57.44 per barrel after American Petroleum Institute data showed that US gasoline stocks and distillate inventories rose more than expected last week.
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