Asia Stocks Slip as Bond Yields Extend Recent Fall: Markets Wrap

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Stocks in Asia slipped after another tumultuous session on Wall Street and further declines in Treasury yields, on heightened trade uncertainty and fears of a slowing global economy.

Japanese shares opened lower along with South Korea. Contracts on the S&P 500 Index edged higher after the U.S. gauge swung more than 1% for a 12th straight day in above-average volume before finally ending the day up. The dollar was little changed. Money continued to pile into bonds, with these the latest milestones reached:

  • New Zealand’s 10-year yield dropped below 1% for the first time.
  • Japan’s 10-year yield slipped to -0.25%, the lowest since 2016
  • Ten-year U.S. Treasury yields briefly dipped below 1.5% to a three-year low

Trade headlines have kept investors on edge amid volatility that’s gripped markets for most of August. Chinacalled looming U.S. tariffs a violation of accords reached by Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping, while Trump said Thursday that any deal with must be “on our terms.” With traders gunning for more rate cuts from the Federal Reserve, chair Jerome Powell maygive a hint of his thinking when he speaks Aug. 23 at the annual central bankers retreat in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

“The Fed, in order to keep this expansion going, needs to provide additional accommodation,” Tiffany Wilding, U.S. economist at Pacific Investment Management Co., told Bloomberg TV. “Whether they are able to arrest the downturn — there is some question around that. Ultimately we think that they will be able to.”

Elsewhere, oil edged higher and gold steadied.

Here are the main moves in markets:

Stocks

  • Japan’s Topix index fell 0.4% as of 9:03 a.m. in Tokyo.
  • Futures on the S&P 500 Index added 0.1%. The underlying gauge rose 0.3% on Thursday.
  • Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index lost 0.1%.
  • South Korea’s Kospi declined 0.8%.

Currencies

  • The yen was flat at 106.08 per dollar.
  • The offshore yuan was at 7.0473 per dollar.
  • The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was steady.
  • The euro bought $1.1110.

Bonds

  • The yield on 10-year Treasuries decreased one basis point to 1.52%, down from 1.75% at the start of the week.
  • Japan’s 10-year yield declined one basis point to -0.25%.

Commodities

  • Gold was up 0.2% to $1,526.31 an ounce.
  • West Texas Intermediate crude added 0.6% to $54.80 a barrel.

— With assistance by Sarah Ponczek

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