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Global Markets: Asian shares falter from 1-1/2-month highs, markets wary about China data

Reuters  |  SYDNEY 

By Swati Pandey

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Asian shares turned down on Monday as trade data started trickling in and as investors looked to key corporate earnings later in the week to take the pulse of a cooling global

Partial data on trade from showed dollar-denominated exports growth was the highest since 2011. Markets are still awaiting numbers for December due shortly.

MSCI's broadest index of shares outside stumbled 0.7 percent after climbing to the highest since early December on Friday, with Chinese and Hong Kong shares the biggest losers.

Liquidity was generally expected to be light during Asian hours as was on public holiday.

Chinese shares opened in the red, with the blue-chip index down 0.3 percent and Shanghai's SSE Composite off 0.2 percent. Hong Kong's dropped 1.2 percent while Australian shares turned down after starting firm.

E-minis for the S&P 500 too stumbled, in an indication of risk aversion.

The trade data from was the main focus, with recent signs Asia's largest was losing momentum and the government was planning to lower its 2019 economic growth target.

The Sino-U.S. tariff war has already disrupted trade flows for hundreds of billions of dollars worth of goods and roiled global markets. While the two countries have been in talks for months, few details have been provided of any progress made.

Investors expect volatility to rise this week, "as some key issues that have been affecting market sentiment approach decision points," said Nick Twidale, at

"Expect sentiment to continue to dominate market direction with trades focussing closely on the channels for the next twist in the various issues that are influencing the market."

On the earnings front, U.S. banks are in sharp focus with quarterly results from due Monday followed by JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, and later in the week.

Expectations are dour with profits for U.S. companies forecast to rise 6.4 percent, down from an Oct. 1 estimate of 10.2 percent and a big drop from 2018's tax cut-fueled gain of more than 20 percent.

Investor attention was also on the shutdown, now in its 24th day, and with no resolution in sight.

Further clouding the outlook, Britain faces a hugely uncertain path with a vote for a deal for its exit from the due in the on Tuesday.

All these factors were at play last week when the main U.S. indices ended Friday little changed as investors reset positions ahead of key risk events.

The Australian dollar, a key gauge of global risk sentiment and a liquid proxy for the Chinese yuan, dipped 0.1 percent from a one-month top of $0.7235 set on Friday.

Elsewhere, the euro was subdued as it hit key technical levels following data from on Friday that showed the euro zone's third-largest was at risk of recession.

The single currency was last at $1.1475.

The dollar's index, which measures the greenback against a basket of major currencies, edged 0.1 percent lower to 95.57 after two straight days of gains.

In commodities, extended losses from Friday as investors worried about a global slowdown.

U.S. crude was down 19 cents at $51.4 while Brent eased 17 cents to $60.31.

Gold gained to inch towards a recent seven-month high of $1,298.42 an ounce.

(Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, January 14 2019. 08:24 IST