Asian stocks built on losses seen in the US equities session, ending a tough week for risk assets that’s rekindled concerns about what a potential trade war and a more hawkish Federal Reserve could do to global economic growth. The dollar extended losses and the yen gained.
Japan bore the brunt of declines, with the Nikkei 225 Stock Average breaking below its average level over the past 200 days and extending losses from its January peak to 13 percent. Shares in Hong Kong, China, Australia and South Korea were also weaker after U.S. stocks posted a third day of declines. U.S. President Donald Trump promised to impose substantial tariffs on foreign metals and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said Europe will respond “firmly” to any new tariffs. Treasuries kept rising Friday.
“We’re entering a period of turbulence,” Sebastien Page, head of asset allocation at T. Rowe Price, told Bloomberg TV from Baltimore. “So at the margin we are taking away from equities, adding both bonds and cash.”
The Cboe Volatility Index is up 35 percent this week as Fed chair Jerome Powell opened the door to speculation that the central bank may quicken the pace of monetary tightening, a move investors worry could derail economic growth. In his Senate testimony Thursday, he called for gradual interest rate hikes and said the economy wasn’t overheating.
Elsewhere, oil steadied after sliding Thursday on concerns about increasing U.S. crude production. Bitcoin held near $11,000 on course to post a 10 percent increase this week.
Terminal users can read more in our markets blog.
Here are some key events scheduled for the remainder of this week:
- Bank of England Governor Mark Carney speech for the inaugural Scottish Economics Conference.
- U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May delivers a speech Friday on Britain’s relationship with the European Union.
- China’s annual national legislative meetings start Saturday and are set to run over two-plus weeks.
- Italy goes to the polls on Sunday. Read more on how Italian bond spreads could widen substantially should a euroskeptic alliance come to power.
These are the main moves in markets:
- Japan’s Topix index fell 2.2 percent as of 12:30 a.m. in Tokyo, while the Nikkei 225 Stock Average retreated 2.9 percent.
- Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index dropped 1 percent and South Korea’s Kospi index retreated 1.5 percent.
- Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index declined 1.5 percent. The Shanghai Composite index slid 0.3 percent.
- Futures on the S&P 500 slipped 0.2 percent after the underlying index fell 1.3 percent Thursday.
- Futures on the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index lost 0.6 percent.
- The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index declined 0.1 percent, building on Thursday’s 0.3 percent drop.
- The yen gained 0.2 percent to 106.04 per dollar.
- The euro was little changed at $1.2275.
- The Australian dollar bought 77.57 U.S. cents.
- The yield on 10-year Treasuries was down one basis point to 2.80 percent.
- Australia’s 10-year yield down about two basis points to 2.74 percent.
- West Texas Intermediate crude was little changed at $60.98 a barrel.
- Gold was flat at $1,317.11 an ounce.