GLOBAL MARKETS-Asian stocks pull back as Hong Kong uncertainty weighs

GLOBAL MARKETS-Asian stocks pull back as Hong Kong uncertainty weighs

Reuters  | May 27, 2020 08:40

GLOBAL MARKETS-Asian stocks pull back as Hong Kong uncertainty weighs

* Asian stock markets:

NEW YORK, May 26 (Reuters) - Asian shares shed some of their
recent gains on Wednesday as investor concerns about rising
tensions between the United States and China tempered optimism
about a re-opening of the world economy.
U.S. President Donald Trump said late on Tuesday he is
preparing to take action against China this week over its effort
to impose national security laws on Hong Kong, but gave no
further details. Worsening relations between the world's two biggest
economies will further hobble global growth, already in the
doldrums due to the coronavirus pandemic worldwide.
E-Mini futures for the S&P 500 ESc1 edged down 0.05%, just
short of the 3,000 chart level. The index had cleared 3,000
points in Wall Street overnight before pulling back, as some
traders returned to the New York Stock Exchange floor for the
first time in two months. The Nikkei share average .N225 slipped 0.1%, unwinding
some of the gains made on Tuesday when it climbed to their
highest in nearly 12 weeks. Australia's ASX 200 .AXJO lost
0.9% in early trade and South Korea's KOSPI .KS11 fell 0.2%.
"The S&P500 looked to be set to close above 3,000 until the
late headline that the United States was considering a range of
sanctions on Chinese officials and businesses should China go
ahead with its legislation regarding Hong Kong," analysts at the
National Australia Bank said in a note.
"The extent of those possible sanctions is uncertain," the
analysts said.
China's plans to impose national security laws in Hong Kong
have triggered the first big street unrest in the Asian
financial hub for the first time since last year. Overnight,
hundreds of riot police took up posts around Hong Kong's
legislature in anticipation of protests on Wednesday.
Indeed, some analysts warned that even the recent jump in
share prices showed signs of caution.
"Stock buying in the last 24 hours has a strong defensive
bent," Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC said in
a note. "Beaten down consumer and financial stocks are leading
markets higher, at the expense of the previously popular tech
and healthcare sectors."
Moderating demand for risk helped the safe-haven U.S. dollar
index =USD to edge up 0.03% to 99.042, reversing from losses
U.S. Treasury yields retreated from levels struck overnight,
with two-year yields US2YT=RR hovering at 0.170%, up from a
record low of 0.105% struck on May 8, but still under 0.20%.
Gold prices rebounded from losses as some investors played
it safe, with spot gold XAU= unchanged at $1,711.45 per ounce.
The retreat from risk led oil prices to give up earlier
gains. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures CLc1 were
down 0.3%.

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