Asia stocks fall following US political uncertainty, trade tensions



Asia markets were broadly negative on Tuesday morning, following the Dow Jones Industrial Average's fall overnight amid political uncertainty in the U.S.

In Australia, the ASX 200 suffered further losses to trade down by 0.25 percent as its major banks slid. Commonwealth Bank of Australia shares traded lower by 0.75 percent while Westpac Banking Corp fell by 1.1 percent.

Mainland China markets fell following Monday's public holiday. The Shanghai composite was down by 0.54 percent in the morning while the Shenzhen composite also slipped by around 0.64 percent.

The Nikkei 225, on the other hand, made a recovery from its earlier losses to trade up by 0.12 percent, with semiconductor manufacturer Tokyo Electron rising 2.26 percent.

Markets in Hong Kong and South Korea are closed for public holidays.

In market action overnight on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by 181.45 points to close at 26,562.05. The S&P 500 also slid by 0.4 percent to close at 2,919.37, while the Nasdaq Composite bucked the trend and rose 0.1 percent to 7,993.25.

The moves stateside came on the back of reports that U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was on the verge of resigning or being fired. The White House later released a statement saying Rosenstein and President Donald Trump "will meet on Thursday" amid the conflicting media reports.

The U.S.-China trade war also remains a focus for markets, with the two economic powerhouses exchanging trade blows on Monday as new tariffs went into effect. China had earlier rejected an invitation by the U.S. to restart trade negotiations.

In currency news, the Japanese yen traded slightly weaker at 112.87 against the dollar, while the Australian dollar remained largely unchanged at $0.7252, as of 9:38 a.m. HK/SIN.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of currencies, was at 94.250 as of 9:38 a.m. HK/SIN, off its earlier high.

In the oil markets, prices continued ticking up in the morning of Asian trade. The global benchmark Brent crude futures rose 0.15 percent at $81.32 per barrel, while U.S. crude futures saw a slight increase at $72.11 per barrel. On Monday, Brent crude prices spiked by more than 3 percent on the back of both Saudi Arabia and Russia ruling out any immediate increase in oil production.

Source: CNBC

 Trader Aleksandar Kumanov

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