By Alun John
HONG KONG, Sept. 17 (Reuters) – Asian stocks stabilized early in Friday after losses earlier in the week, but China’s nervousness and worries about global growth weighed on the minds of investors, while the dollar approached its highest level in three weeks.
The MSCI’s largest Asia-Pacific stock index outside of Japan recovered from initial losses to trade flat, but was still down 2.7% on the week.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 0.5% after posting its lowest 10-month close the previous day as the saga around the China Evergrande group moved to a conclusion, unsettling investors.
Shares of the ailing real estate developer fell another 5% on Friday.
Australian stocks fell 1.03% as falling iron ore prices hurt miners. However, Chinese blue chips were up 0.26% and Japan’s Nikkei edged up 0.42% to return to a 31-year high on Monday.
US equity futures, the S&P 500 e-minis, fell 0.6%.
âWe envision a market that is nervous, but has not seen sentiment turn outright bearish,â said Kyle Rodda, analyst at IG Markets.
“If you are looking for catalysts that could justify the next bullish move in equities and risky assets, they are nowhere to be found because worries about global growth are keeping investors on their toes,” he said.
Chinese data earlier this week suggests that growth in the world’s second-largest economy will slow in the second half of this year, while economists polled by Reuters said they expected the U.S. economic rebound to have been hampered in the second half of this year. third quarter, in part because of the spread of the delta. variant of the coronavirus.
While respondents pushed back expectations for the Federal Reserve to announce a decrease in asset purchases through November, a likely move this year did little to support risky assets.
It also meant that strong overnight U.S. retail sales data, a reprieve after a series of underperforming data reads, did little to boost U.S. stocks. Any upturn in sentiment was offset by gains in US yields and the dollar which put pressure on market-leading tech stocks and weighed on exporters.
In Asia, the benchmark 10-year Treasury yield was 1.3378% from its US close of 1.331%, and the dollar gained 0.04% against a basket of other majors.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.18%, the S&P 500 lost 0.16%, but the Nasdaq Composite edged up 0.13%, backed by Amazon.com Inc after reading strong sales data by retail.
Gold rallied slightly on Friday as spot price traded at $ 1,755.03 an ounce, up 0.2% after hitting a one-month low on Thursday, rising yields having harmed the non-interest bearing metal.
US crude fell 0.22% to $ 72.45 a barrel. Brent crude fell 0.26% to $ 75.53 a barrel, but both are still just below their highest levels since early August.
(Reporting by Alun John; editing by Richard Pullin)