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Stocks Drift in Asia Dollar, Treasuries Steady

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Stocks in Asia had a listless session Tuesday amid continuing concerns about stability in emerging markets and prospects for escalating U.S.-China trade tensions. The dollar and Treasury yields were steady.

Equity benchmarks swung between gains and losses with little direction after American exchanges were closed Monday for a holiday. Stocks in Japan and Australia headed lower, while they rose in Hong Kong and China in an afternoon turnaround. European futures tipped a muted session start. The yen fluctuated after the Bank of Japan increased purchases of shorter-term bonds in its regular operations Tuesday, compensating for a reduction in the number of days on which it plans to buy them.

Emerging markets maintained declines after sliding Monday, with Argentina slumping the most even as it took further steps to restore investor confidence. The Australian dollar reversed declines after the nation’s central bank painted an upbeat economic picture even as it left interest rates on hold. Earlier, the currency fell back toward its lowest since January 2017 after the current-account deficit widened more than expected.

Argentina and Turkey are proving the latest epicenters for crises that are denting sentiment across developing nations, where stocks have underperformed their developed counterparts thanks to trade headwinds and a rollback in liquidity injections by major central banks. U.S. stocks remain a point of light, reaching record highs last month even as the Federal Reserve prepares to raise interest rates again in September.

Meanwhile, U.S. trade negotiators are in difficult talks with their Canadian counterparts over a revision of the North American Free Trade Agreement already agreed to by the U.S. and Mexico. On the China front, President Donald Trump may announce implementation of tariffs on as much as $200 billion in additional Chinese products as soon as Thursday.

“Markets will get over this trade thing until it impacts the economic data, but this will be a volatile for markets,” Shane Oliver, AMP Capital Investors Ltd.’s head of investment strategy and chief economist said on Bloomberg Television.

Elsewhere, oil was stable after rising to the highest in almost two months in London as Iranian crude exports tumbled. The pound steadied as the U.K.’s flagship Brexit proposalcame under attack at home and in Brussels.

Key events coming up this week:

• Bank of England Governor Mark Carney on Tuesday testifies on the August inflation report and policy decision.

• Executives from Facebook, Twitter and Google on Wednesday testify on social media, Russia meddling.

• U.S. PMI data is due Tuesday, and employment reports for August are set to follow Friday.

Main moves in markets:

Stocks

• Japan’s Topix index fell 0.1 percent at the 3 p.m. close in Tokyo.

• South Korea’s Kospi index rose 0.4 percent.

• Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index climbed 0.9 percent.

• Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index lost 0.4 percent.

• Futures on the S&P 500 Index gained about 0.2 percent.

• FTSE 100 Index futures were little changed as of 7:02 a.m. in London.

Currencies

• The Japanese yen fell 0.2 percent to 111.24 per dollar.

• The offshore yuan traded flat at 6.8351 per dollar.

• The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index rose 0.1 percent.

• The euro lost 0.1 percent to $1.1605.

• The Aussie rose 0.2 to 72.28 U.S. cents after falling to as low as 71.88 U.S. cents.

Bonds

• U.S. 10-year Treasury yields held at 2.86 percent.

• Australia’s 10-year bond yield was steady at 2.52 percent.

Commodities

• West Texas Intermediate crude advanced 0.4 percent to $70.11 a barrel.

• Gold fell 0.2 percent to $1,199.16 an ounce.

• LME copper lost 0.5 percent to $5,938 a metric ton.

Source: Bloomberg