Asian shares look set for cautious start as trade tensions mount

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Markets in the region looked set to start the week on a defensive tone on Monday despite slight gains seen on Wall Street in the last session.

Futures in Asia pointed to a subdued open, with Nikkei futures traded in Chicago lower by 0.15 percent compared to the index’s Friday close. Markets in Australia, meanwhile, will be closed on Monday.

U.S. stocks closed slightly higher on Friday, with major indexes finishing the week higher despite caution over trade-related tensions playing out at the G-7 summit, which concluded on Saturday.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.3 percent, or 75.12 points, to close at 25,316.53, the S&P 5&P 500 advanced 0.31 percent to 2,779.03 and the Nasdaq composite gained 0.14 percent to end at 7,645.51.

The major averages rose at least 1.2 percent for the week.

Investors are likely keep an eye on trade tensions between the U.S. and its traditional allies, including Canada and the European Union. U.S. President Donald Trump on the weekend withdrew his support for a G-7 declaration and criticized Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for being “dishonest and weak.”

The Trump administration had applied tariffs on aluminum and steel tariffs on other G-7 members ahead of the G-7 summit last week.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the EU was preparing its own countermeasures against the U.S., Reuters reported.

The gains notched stateside on Friday were in contrast to declines seen in European and Asian markets, with the pan-European Stoxx 600 slipping 0.21 percent. MSCI’s index of shares in Asia Pacific excluding Japan had fallen more than 1 percent in the last session.

Meanwhile, a planned summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that’s taking place in Singapore on Tuesday is expected to take center stage. Both arrived in the country on Sunday and are set to make history as the first sitting leaders of their respective countries to meet face-to-face.

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