Asia stocks hang in balance as doubts on trade talks resurface

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Asian stocks paused near multi-month peaks while bonds squeezed out a bounce as delays to seal a preliminary China-U.S. trade were reported. The uncertainty has left investors frustrated with the slow progress and lack of concrete actions.

The updates in early European trades are as follows: London’s FTSE futures climbed 0.2%, Euro Stoxx futures were up slightly, and German DAX were flat.

MSCI’s index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan slightly fell 0.2%, after hitting its six-month high earlier in the week.

South Korean stocks eased 0.15% after reaching its highest since May, Shanghai blue chips fell 0.08%, and Japan’s Nikkei dithered either side of flat as it touched its 13-month top on Wednesday.

E-mini futures for S&P 500 eased 0.1%

A meeting between the two presidents involved in the trade war, U.S. President Trump and Chinese President Xi was reported to have ended in a delay to the interim trade deal until December as further discussions are to be made.

One suggestion was to sign an agreement after a scheduled NATO meeting in December.

“One could take the view that by not committing to meet the original deadline it gives more time for a somewhat more comprehensive agreement to be thrashed out,” Ray Attrill, head of FX strategy at National Australia Bank, said.

“But markets have understandably jumped the other way, exhibiting a slight loss of confidence that anything more substantial than an agreement not to further lift tariffs, in return for some increase in US agricultural purchases, can be agreed by way of an initial deal.”

Wall Street was disappointed by the news and the Dow Jones Industrial Average ended flat on Wednesday. The S&P 500 rose 0.07% and the Nasdaq fell 0.29%.

HP Inc gained over 6% after Reuters’ report of Xerox Holdings Corp profits of roughly $33 billion cash-and-stock offer.

The short pause in the risk rally helped bonds regain a bit of their losses recently. U. S. Benchmark yields on 10-year notes fell 1.81% from a two-month high of 1.87%.

It restrained the dollar, which fell to 108.74 yen from 109.24. The dollar was steady on a basket of currencies at 97.965.

The euro struggled to make a bounce at $1.1061, dangerously close to chart support, which is at $1.1060.

Spot gold changed slightly at $1,490.38 per ounce and well within good trading ranges.

Oil prices regained some of its losses after getting affected by a large build in U.S. crude inventories.

U.S. crude fell 6 cents to $56.29 per barrel and Brent crude was 7 cents lower at $61.67.

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