By Wayne Cole
SYDNEY (Reuters) – Asian share markets flatlined on Tuesday as uncertainty over Sino-U.S. trade talks and political strife in Hong Kong dogged sentiment, while safe-haven bonds eked out a bounce.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan () edged up a slight 0.04%, following a sharp 1.2% pullback on Monday.
Japan’s Nikkei () dithered either side of flat, while Shanghai blue chips () eased 0.1%. E-Mini futures for the S&P 500 () also dipped 0.1%, as did EUROSTOXX 50 futures ().
Caution ruled ahead of a speech by U.S. President Donald Trump to the Economic Club of New York later in the day in case there was any new word on the Sino-U.S. Phase one trade deal.
Trump wrongfooted markets over the weekend when he said there had been incorrect reporting about U.S. willingness to lift tariffs on China.
On a more positive note, Politico reported Trump would announce this week that he is delaying a decision on whether to slap tariffs on imported European Union autos for another six months.
Investors were anxious about the situation in Hong Kong after a violent escalation of protests knocked nearly 2% off Asia-exposed banks HSBC (L:) and StanChart (L:).
Riot police were deployed at metro stations across the territory and large queues were forming at railway platforms as commuters struggled to get to work.
A partial holiday in the United States closed the Treasury market on Monday and made for a quiet session on Wall Street. The Dow () ended up 0.04%, while the S&P 500 () lost 0.20% and the Nasdaq () 0.13%.
Shares of Boeing Co (N:) jumped 4.5% after saying it expected U.S. regulators to approve the return to commercial service of its grounded 737 MAX jet in the coming weeks, and expects commercial service to resume in January.
Treasuries were in demand when trading resumed in Asia, with yields on 10-year notes () dropping to 1.918% and away from last week’s three-month top of 1.97%.
In currency markets, the main action was in sterling which hit a six-month high on the euro after the Brexit Party said it would not contest previously Conservative held seats in the UK election.
In a significant boost for Prime Minister Boris Johnson ahead of the Dec. 12 election, Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage said he did not want anti-Brexit parties to win, so was standing down candidates in seats won by the Conservatives in 2017.
The pound reached 0.8582 per euro (), and firmed to $1.2856
Against a basket of currencies, the dollar steadied at 98.256 (). The euro edged up to $1.1030 () and away from a three-week low of $1.1015, while the dollar faded to 109.10 yen
suffered a third day of declines, to touch its lowest since early August at $1,447.89 per ounce
Oil prices edged lower as the lack of progress on U.S.-China trade negotiations kept prices pressured, though bullish inventory data offered some support. [O/R]
U.S. crude () lost 15 cents to $56.71 a barrel, while Brent crude () futures fell 13 cents to $62.05.
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