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Stocks Mixed as Trade Worries Return Yen Jumps

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A drop in Japanese shares dominated an otherwise mixed session for Asian equities, as the yen extended gains amid more twists and turns on trade and lingering emerging-market risks. The dollar steadied and 10-year Treasury yields pared a decline below 3 percent.

Automakers were the biggest drag on the Topix index, as the yen surged after President Donald Trump ordered consideration of a probe into automobile imports. Shares fell in China and South Korea, and were little changed in Australia and Hong Kong. All major U.S. equity benchmarks rose Wednesday after minutes from the most recent Federal Reserve meeting showed American central bankers in no hurry to accelerate the pace of rate hikes even as the economy continues to improve. Oil slipped.

Traders are trying to navigate escalating geopolitical and trade risks, from Trump’s decision to back away from a recently announced trade agreement with China to uncertainty about whether a planned summit meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will go ahead. Meanwhile, questions are swirling around the Italian populist government’s economic policies and shaky emerging markets after Turkey raised rates to halt a slide in the lira.

Elsewhere, most Asian emerging-market currencies were little changed, while many bonds advanced. The euro steadied after falling to a six-month low.

These are some key events to watch this week:

Thursday sees the Bank of England Markets Forum at Bloomberg London. Speakers include BOE Governor Mark Carney and New York Fed President William Dudley.

At the St. Petersburg Forum Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin and French President Emmanuel Macron, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde, and Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe participate on a panel moderated by Bloomberg News Editor-in-Chief John Micklethwait.

Also Friday, European Union finance ministers discuss the latest on Brexit talks, in Brussels.

These are the main moves in markets:

Stocks

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell 0.3 percent as of 3:11 p.m. Tokyo time.

Topix index tumbled 1.2 percent.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell 0.2 percent.

Kospi index fell 0.2 percent.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 0.1 percent.

Futures on the S&P 500 Index declined 0.2 percent.

Currencies

The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index rose less than 0.05 percent.

The Japanese yen rose 0.5 percent to 109.52 per dollar.

The euro rose less than 0.05 percent to $1.1702.

Bonds

The yield on 10-year Treasuries rose less than one basis point to 3.00 percent.

Japan’s 10-year yield rose less than one basis point to 0.049 percent.

Australia’s 10-year yield dipped three basis points to 2.815 percent.

Commodities

West Texas Intermediate crude fell 0.4 percent to $71.59 a barrel.

Gold rose less than 0.05 percent to $1,294.00 an ounce.

LME copper fell 0.3 percent to $6,846.00 per metric ton.

Source: Bloomberg