Asia braces for stock drop as Trump rattles nerves
SYDNEY (March 2): Japanese stocks were poised to tumble, with losses in the U.S. equities session likely to spill over into Asian trading, 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.
Futures signaled Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average may fall about 3 percent when trading begins after U.S. stocks posted a third day of declines. Australian and Hong Kong futures also point lower. The S&P 500 Index dropped 1.3 percent and Treasuries climbed after U.S. President Donald Trump promised to impose substantial tariffs on foreign metals. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said Europe will respond “firmly” to any new tariffs. The dollar reversed gains.
“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, European equities declined as some companies missed their earnings estimates and manufacturing data showed that growth may have peaked. Losses for oil deepened amid supply worries, with crude heading back toward $60 a barrel.
Here are some key events scheduled for the remainder of this week:
* Bank of England Governor Mark Carney speaks at the inaugural Scottish Economics Conference in Edinburgh.
* 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:
* Futures on Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average were down 3.6 percent in Chicago trading.
* Futures on Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index slid 0.8 percent.
* Futures on Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index declined 0.4 percent.
* The S&P 500 fell 1.3 percent.
* The MSCI All-Country World Index declined 1.2 percent.
* The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index slipped 0.3 percent.
* The euro added 0.6 percent to $1.2264.
* The British pound gained 0.1 percent to $1.3776.
* The yield on 10-year Treasuries declined five basis points to 2.81 percent.
* West Texas Intermediate crude decreased 0.5 percent to $61.34 a barrel.
* Gold declined 0.1 percent to $1,316.98 an ounce, the lowest in seven weeks.
Source: The Edge Markets