Most Asian shares track Wall Street losses on US tax fears
HONG KONG (AP) — Most Asian stock markets fell Friday after Wall Street fell from record highs on uncertainty over President Donald Trump’s tax revamp but news that Beijing will ease curbs on foreign access to some sectors buoyed Chinese shares.
KEEPING SCORE: Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index lost 0.9 percent to 22,673.08 and South Korea’s Kospi fell 0.2 percent to 2,546.42. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng climbed 0.2 percent to 29,189.52 and the Shanghai Composite in mainland China edged up 0.1 percent to 3,432.08 — both recovered from earlier losses. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 shed 0.3 percent to 6,029.40. Taiwan’s index fell and Southeast Asian benchmarks were mixed.
TAX DELAY: U.S. politicians surprised Wall Street with a proposed delay in cutting corporate taxes. Proposed bills would ultimately slash the tax rates to 20 percent from 35 percent but the Senate Republican version wouldn’t take effect until 2019. Tax reform is one of Trump’s priorities and the plan to push it back by a year is opposed by the White House.
MARKET VIEW: “The release of the U.S. Senate’s tax bill had been one to tip equity markets into losses,” said Jingyi Pan, market strategist at IG. “With the increased likelihood of a delay to corporate tax cuts hitting markets, this risk-off day is set to find Asian bourses paring gains.”
CHINA ACCESS: Beijing said it will loosen restrictions on foreign ownership stakes in China’s financial sector and cut tariffs on auto imports, in an attempt to address complaints from the U.S. and other trading partners. The announcement follows Trump’s visit to China, where the U.S. trade deficit was a central issue in talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
APEC MEETING: Markets are keeping eye on the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Vietnam. Leaders of countries that were part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership are expected to endorse a basic agreement on moving ahead without the U.S. after Trump abandoned the Pacific Rim trade pact.
FORECAST DOWN UNDER: The Australian central bank forecast a “solid pace of growth” averaging about 3 percent over the next couple of years in its latest monetary policy statement. But it also trimmed its inflation and wage growth expectations, suggesting that it will keep benchmark interest rates at their current low levels.
WALL STREET: Major U.S. benchmarks ended skidded lower a day after closing at all-time highs. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index dropped 0.4 percent to close at 2,584.62. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 0.4 percent to 23,461.94. The Nasdaq composite slid or 0.6 percent to 6,750.05.
CURRENCIES: The dollar was steady at 113.44 yen. The euro rose to $1.1646 from $1.1640.
ENERGY: Oil futures slipped from their highest levels since mid-2015. Benchmark U.S. crude fell 6 cents to $57.11 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchnage. The contract gained 36 cents to settle at $57.17 a barrel on Thursday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, dipped 11 cents to $63.82 a barrel in London.