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Asia stocks retreat after week-long Trump rally

Updated: 17:30 17-02-2017

Most Asian markets eased further Friday as investors cashed out following a healthy run-up since last week, and after Wall Street's Trump-fuelled surge finally came to an end.

Equity markets around the world are sharply higher since the US president last Thursday pledged a "phenomenal" tax reform package soon, raising hopes he would press on with plans to fire up the US economy.

The remarks were the spark for all three main Wall Street indices to hit record highs for five successive days, with help also coming from Federal Reserve boss Janet Yellen's upbeat assessment of the outlook for the US and hints at a March interest rate hike.

However, analysts said despite the bright week for markets there remained a lot of uncertainty, particularly with Trump's first weeks in office engulfed in controversies, most recently over his relationship with Russia.

"The current political landscape is unlikely to change soon, nor will the debates surrounding tax, fiscal and Fed policies," said Stephen Innes, senior trader at forex firm OANDA.

"As such we should expect the markets to come under renewed pressure and to be severely tested in the weeks to come," he said in a commentary.

Hong Kong stocks fell 0.3 percent in the afternoon while Shanghai shed 0.9 percent by the close.

Sydney eased 0.2 percent and Seoul dropped 0.1 percent, while Tokyo lost 0.6 percent.

But Singapore rallied 0.4 percent following data that showed the city-state's economy grew at its fastest pace in five years during October-December.

The dollar was also struggling to break out against its major peers despite Yellen's comments this week to Congress that the economy continued to improve and left open the chance of a March rate hike.

The greenback climbed around three percent from its levels just before Trump's tax comments — to flirt with the 115 yen mark Thursday. But it retreated in New York and was sitting at 113.34 yen in early Asia trade.

In company news, Seoul-listed Samsung Electronics sank 0.6 percent following news that the heir to the tech giant had been arrested as part of a probe into corruption and influence-peddling that caused South Korea President Park Geun-Hye to be impeached.

- Key figures around 0700 GMT - 

Tokyo – Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.6 percent at 19,234.62 (close)

Hong Kong – Hang Seng: DOWN 0.3 percent at 24,026.28

Shanghai – Composite: DOWN 0.9 percent at 3,201.97 (close)

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.0666 from $1.0678 

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2494 from $1.2491

Dollar/yen: UP at 113.34 yen from 113.23 yen

Oil – West Texas Intermediate: UP five cents at $53.41 per barrel

Oil – Brent North Sea: UP nine cents at $55.74

New York – Dow: UP less than 0.1 percent at 20,619.77 (close)

London – FTSE 100: DOWN 0.3 percent at 7,277.92 (close)

dan/rb

Source: AFP Published: 08:00 17-02-2017

Posted by on February 17, 2017.

Categories: Business World News

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