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Stocks Shrug Off Cohen Plea Dollar Steadies

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Stocks in Asia traded mixed and U.S. futures pared losses as traders digested the news of President Donald Trump’s longtime lawyer pleading guilty to federal charges. The dollar steadied and Treasuries ticked higher.

Michael D. Cohen’s plea deal initially sparked mild demand for haven assets and sent U.S. equity futures lower, though there was little sign of a pronounced impact in markets. Japanese shares traded higher while Hong Kong stocks swung between gains and losses, and equities fell in China and Australia. European equity futures point to a lower open. Earlier, the S&P 500 Index touched an intraday record high.

Cohen pleaded guilty to illegal campaign finance charges, all but naming Trump as having ordered him to do it. Trump’s former campaign chairman was earlier found guilty of tax fraud, among other charges.

“I don’t think that what we saw last night in terms of Manafort and Cohen are necessarily fatal to the president,” Richard Harris, chief executive officer at Port Shelter Investment Management, told Bloomberg TV. “There are quite a lot of things that could continue and he could still ride them out. It takes an awful lot to impeach a president and it may take an awful lot for Trump not to be elected for a second term.”

Next up for global investors are minutes of the Federal Reserve policy-setting policy due Wednesday. Chairman Jerome Powell may provide more color when he speaks Friday at the Kansas City Fed’s annual gathering in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Elsewhere, crude added to gains triggered by a U.S. plan to sell strategic oil reserves that highlighted concerns about tightening global supplies. The Mexican peso strengthened on news the U.S. and Mexico moved closer toward a consensus on how to forge a new North American Free Trade Agreement.

Key events coming up this week:

• Companies announcing earnings include Alibaba, Royal Bank of Canada, Lowe’s, Target, Qantas and China’s Bank of Communications.

• Central bankers gather at the Kansas City Fed’s annual Jackson Hole symposium, where Powell speaks Friday.

• The Fed releases the minutes from latest FOMC meeting on Wednesday.

• Euro area preliminary PMI data for August is due on Thursday.

Main moves in markets:

Stocks

• Topix index climbed 0.8 percent at the 3 p.m. close in Tokyo.

• Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 0.1 percent.

• The Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.8 percent.

• Kospi index rose 0.2 percent.

• Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 0.3 percent.

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

• FTSE 100 Index futures fell 0.4 percent as of 7 a.m. in London.

• The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 0.3 percent.

Currencies

• The Japanese yen fell 0.1 percent to 110.42 per dollar.

• The offshore yuan declined 0.1 percent to 6.8380 per dollar.

• The euro rose less than 0.1 percent to $1.1576.

• The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was flat.

Bonds

• The yield on 10-year Treasuries was steady around 2.82 percent.

• Australia’s 10-year yield was stable at 2.54 percent.

Commodities

• West Texas Intermediate crude rose 0.4 percent to $66.14 a barrel.

• Gold was little changed at $1,195.21 an ounce.

Source: Bloomberg