Asian shares muted, US debt ceiling talks weigh on risk appetite

Singapore, May 17 (BNA): Asian stocks and the dollar hovered around a five-week peak as investors remained risk averse, with US debt ceiling talks and a mixed batch of economic data weighing on sentiment.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 0.09% in choppy trade, with Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 down 0.45%, according to Reuters.

Futures indicated that European stocks were poised for a lower open, with Eurostoxx 50 futures down 0.14%, German DAX futures down 0.02%, and FTSE futures down 0.17%.

As the deadline approaches, Saira Malik, chief investment officer of Noveen, said, “One thing investors can be sure of is that more uncertainty lies ahead.”

Malik expects more volatility in the equity and fixed income markets so that there is greater clarity on the outcome of the negotiations.

US stock indices closed lower overnight, dragged down by the tough outlook from Home Depot and mixed US retail sales data for April.

Recent economic data indicates that the US economy is slowing down after a series of interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve to fight high inflation.

In Asia, the Shanghai Composite fell 0.23%.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.55%, weighed down by China’s data showing a wobbly post-COVID recovery.

The offshore yuan weakened $7 against the dollar for the first time in five months.

Japan’s Nikkei rose 0.68%, crossing 30k for the first time since September 2021.

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The index has been on a tear and is up 15% this year as foreign investors piled on amid reports that billionaire investor Warren Buffett was considering more investment in Japanese stocks.

Data showed that the Japanese economy emerged from recession and grew faster than expected in the first quarter as a post-COVID consumption rebound offset global headwinds.

The yen fell 0.12% to 136.55 per dollar, not far from a two-week low of 136.69 touched on Tuesday.

The dollar rose 0.01 percent to 102.61, just close to the five-week high of 102.75 it touched on Monday.

US crude rose 0.06% to $70.90 a barrel.

The price of Brent crude was at $74.99, up 0.11% on the day.

Gold prices stabilized after falling below $2,000 an ounce in the previous session. Spot gold was last priced at $1,991.29 an ounce.


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