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Stocks in Asia Head for One-Year Low, Yen Advances

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Stocks in Asia dropped, with a regional benchmark heading for the lowest close in a year, as investors contemplate the risk of weaker growth thanks to woes in emerging markets. The yen gained.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index is down for a sixth straight session as declines in Australia and Hong Kong offset modest gains in markets including Indonesia and Malaysia. Japan’s equities underperformed in the wake of a powerful earthquake on its northernmost main island, which knocked out electricity and added to transport strains from a major typhoon earlier this week. European futures ticked lower. Ten-year Treasury yields held at 2.90 percent and the dollar was firmer against most major peers.

While focus remains on efforts by emerging markets from Argentina to Indonesia to sustain confidence, the potential for President Donald Trump to announce another round of tariff hikes on Chinese imports as soon as Thursday also looms large.

Prominent voices on Wall Street are warning that U.S. stocks face headwinds — Citigroup Inc. cited sentiment levels as it cautioned that another pullback may be in the offing and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said elevated valuations and a tightening labor market have driven the firm’s bull/bear market indicator to alarming highs.

“Contagion is a normal reaction,” George Boubouras, director at Salter Brothers Asset Management, said on Bloomberg Television. While valuations are compelling, “they’re going to become more compelling as it spreads a little bit further in the rout.”

Elsewhere, the Australian dollar fell after two more lenders raised their home-loan rates. Philippine stocks had the biggest slide in Asia’s emerging markets as foreign investors are dumping the nation’s equities at a record pace this year as inflation soars.

The British pound held gains after being whipsawed amid Brexit discussions. Gold climbed, while West Texas Intermediate oil held below $70 a barrel on concerns about a stockpile buildup. Bitcoin fell after a report that Goldman Sachs was said to delay setting up a trading desk for cryptocurrencies.

Events coming up during the remainder of this week:

• The public comment period expires Thursday for proposed U.S. duties on an additional $200 billion of Chinese imports.

• The key monthly U.S. employment report for August is due Friday.

Main moves in markets:

Stocks

• Japan’s Topix index fell 0.7 percent at the 3 p.m. in Tokyo.

• Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index slid 1.4 percent, while the Shanghai Composite declined 0.5 percent.

• S&P 500 Index futures fell 0.1 percent; futures on the FTSE 100 Index were flat as of 7:03 a.m. in London.

• Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index lost 1.2 percent.

• The MSCI Asia Pacific Index lost 0.8 percent.

• The MSCI Emerging Market Index was down 0.6 percent.

Currencies

• The yen rose 0.2 percent to 111.34 per dollar.

• The offshore yuan was down 0.2 percent at 6.8584 per dollar.

• The euro bought $1.1618, down 0.1 percent.

• The pound was at $1.2901 after large swings Wednesday.

• The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index rose 0.1 percent.

Bonds

• The yield on 10-year Treasuries was stuck at 2.90 percent.

• Australia’s 10-year bond yield rose on basis point to 2.56 percent.

Commodities

• West Texas Intermediate crude edged lower to $68.56 a barrel, adding to a 1.1 percent drop Wednesday.

• Gold was little changed at $1,196.61 an ounce.

• LME copper traded at $5,873 per metric ton.

Source: Bloomberg