World Economy

Asia Stocks Edgy, Europe to Falter

Asia Stocks Edgy, Europe to FalterAsia Stocks Edgy, Europe to Falter

US air strikes in Syria left Asian stock markets jaded on Wednesday, setting the stage for another soft session for European shares.

The dollar was kept in check after US yields fell on geopolitical concerns and dovish statements by a Federal Reserve official, Reuters reported.

Spreadbetters saw European equities starting lower, forecasting London’s FTSE to open down as much as 0.3 percent, Germany’s DAX and France’s CAX down 0.2 percent each.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan initially fell to a four-month low after Wall Street’s overnight slide, but managed to steady thanks to gains in Chinese shares.

The CSI300 of the leading Shanghai and Shenzhen A-share listings climbed 0.9 percent, while the Shanghai Composite Index was up 0.8 percent.

Space and defense stocks surged, with the industries enjoying support on hopes they would benefit from deepening reforms in state firms and from more government investment in defense.

On the other hand, Tokyo’s Nikkei shed 0.3 percent and Australian shares lost 1.1 percent.

“If geopolitical concerns deepen, you can’t expect Japanese markets alone to survive. The market could fall up to 10-15 percent at most,” said Akiko Miyazaki, director of stocks at Barclays in Tokyo.

The air strikes in Syria also garnered demand for safe-haven government debt and pushed US Treasury yields lower, in turn helping arrest the dollar’s recent bull run.

The dollar was down 0.3 percent at 108.58 yen, after going as low as 108.25 yen overnight.

The greenback has been on the back foot after scaling a six-year high of 109.46 on Friday, receiving an additional knock after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe voiced concern about the economic impact from the currency’s recent weakness.

The euro was little changed at $1.2851, limping away from the 14-month low of $1.2816 hit Monday.

Gold clung to overnight gains on Wednesday as Asian shares retreated, but investors remained cautious amid a firmer dollar and upbeat U.S. manufacturing data that kept prices near their lowest since January. Spot gold held steady at $1,223.40 an ounce.

Copper was stuck near three-year lows, weighed after miner Newmont raised its supply forecast and by signs of fragility in the global economy.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange inched up 0.1 percent to $6,725.00 a tonne after slumping to the lowest in three months on Monday at $6,707.25 a tonne.