Asian stocks strug­gle on US elec­tion wor­ries

> Fur­ther probe into pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Hillary Clin­ton’s emails fu­els fresh global mar­ket un­cer­tainty

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SUNBIZ -

HONG KONG: Asian traders moved cau­tiously yes­ter­day as news that the Fed­eral Bureau of In­ves­ti­ga­tion (FBI) would fur­ther probe Hillary Clin­ton’s emails fu­elled fresh un­cer­tainty about the out­come of the US pres­i­den­tial elec­tion just eight days be­fore the vote.

Traders glob­ally had broadly ex­pected Demo­cratic can­di­date and Wall Street favourite Clin­ton to sweep to vic­tory, with her ri­val Don­ald Trump con­sid­ered a loose can­non.

But FBI chief James Comey’s an­nounce­ment that he was again look­ing at her use of a pri­vate email server while serv­ing as sec­re­tary of state sent shud­ders through trad­ing floors, with US stocks tum­bling and the dol­lar tak­ing a hit.

The sell-off fil­tered through to Asia, where deal­ers are also ner­vously await­ing a se­ries of key events this week, in­clud­ing cen­tral bank pol­icy meet­ings in Ja­pan and the US, and the re­lease of US jobs fig­ures on Fri­day.

Trad­ing con­di­tions this week will be “slip­pery and shifty”, said Stephen Innes, se­nior trader at forex firm OANDA.

“The cal­en­dar is full of high-risk events mak­ing for a treach­er­ous path to nav­i­gate in the lead-up the mon­u­men­tal Nov 8 US elec­tion,” he said in a note.

Tokyo’s Nikkei ended 0.1% lower and Shang­hai closed 0.1% off, while Seoul slipped 0.6% and Taipei was 0.2% off.

But Hong Kong re­versed early gains to sit 0.2% higher in the af­ter­noon and Syd­ney rose 0.6%.

The de­vel­op­ment also caused the dol­lar to wob­ble, fall­ing to ¥104.73 (RM4) in New York on Fri­day from ¥105.30 ear­lier in the day in Asia.

Yes­ter­day it strug­gled to bounce back, sit­ting at ¥104.80, while it also edged up against the pound and euro.

It held most gains against the Mex­i­can peso on wor­ries about a pos­si­ble win by Trump, who has promised to tear up a trade deal be­tween the two coun­tries and build a wall on their bor­der.

The dol­lar bought 18.9340 pe­sos (RM4.2) in Asia, hav­ing bro­ken 19.10 pe­sos on Fri­day, and well up from the 18.8190 on Thurs­day.

Oil prices also fell – drag­ging en­ergy firms lower – fol­low­ing Opec’s fail­ure last week to ham­mer out de­tails of an agree­ment to cut out­put and ease a sup­ply glut. The lack of a deal in Vi­enna on Fri­day raised questions about the group’s abil­ity to de­liver the re­duc­tions. It came just days af­ter Opec mem­ber Iraq and non-mem­ber Rus­sia said they felt they should be ex­empted. – AFP

A man walks be­side a model of a Garuda In­done­sia air­plane at the air­line’s head­quar­ters in Jakarta, In­done­sia, yes­ter­day.

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