Asian stocks set for decline; treasuries advance

Asian stocks set for decline; treasuries advance
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SYDNEY (Feb 15): Asian stocks looked set to end the week with declines following a dip in U.S. equities as concern about the economy resurfaced and as investors weighed the outlook for trade developments. Treasuries climbed.

Futures pointed to a lower start for shares in Japan, Hong Kong and Australia. The S&P 500 Index fell after the worst drop for retail sales in nine years. That sent the 10-year Treasury yield down to 2.65 percent. Signs Congress would avert another
government shutdown limited losses in U.S. shares until President Donald Trump said he intends to sign a government funding bill and at the same time declare a national emergency to get more money for a border wall.

Trade tensions between the U.S. and China continue to weigh on sentiment, with the two sides said to be far apart on reform demands as high-level talks continue in Beijing. The lack of progress comes as Trump reportedly considers delaying the March 1 tariff by 60 days, and it may put pressure on him and China President Xi Jinping to seal the deal at a yet-to-be scheduled summit. Growth concerns were front and center after data showed Germany, the euro region’s biggest economy stagnated in the fourth quarter, but dodged recession.

Elsewhere, emerging-market shares fell. Oil moved higher on optimism about global supply cuts. The British pound weakened while gilts advanced as Prime Minister Theresa May lost another round of Brexit voting in Parliament.

Here are some key events coming up:

* Steven Mnuchin and Robert Lighthizer are in Beijing for high- level talks, and will meet China President Xi Jinping on Friday, the South China Morning Post reported.

* China’s factory-gate price gains may have slowed for a seventh straight month in January, with forecasts for a 0.3 percent year-on-year advance ahead of its release Friday.

These are the main moves in markets:

Stocks

* The S&P 500 Index fell 0.3 percent.

* Futures on Japan’s Nikkei 225 slid 0.7 percent in Singapore. 

* Hang Seng futures dropped 0.5 percent. 

* Futures on Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 0.2 percent. 

* The MSCI Emerging Market Index sank 0.3 percent.

Currencies

* The yen rose 0.4 percent to 110.52 per dollar. 

* The offshore yuan rose 0.1 percent to 6.7784 per dollar. 

* The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index fell 0.2 percent.

* The euro rose 0.3 percent to $1.1293.

* The British pound fell 0.4 percent to $1.2796.

Bonds

* The yield on 10-year Treasuries sank five basis points to 2.65 percent.

* Australia’s 10-year yield fell six basis points to 2.09 percent.

Commodities

* West Texas Intermediate crude rose 1.1 percent to $54.51 a barrel.

* Gold gained 0.5 percent to $1,312.45 an ounce.