Asian stocks fell on Wednesday as geopolitical concerns over Iraq overshadowed better-than-expected U.S. data.
In Iraq, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry urged Kurdish leaders on Tuesday to ally with the government to stop the advance of militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). At least 50 people were killed on Tuesday after Syrian warplanes struck targets in Iraq’s Western province of Anbar. Meanwhile, militants launched an attack on one of Iraq’s largest air bases, located less than 100 kilometers from Baghdad.
Traders took their cues from the U.S., where stocks declined on Tuesday with the Dow Jones Industrial Average posting its biggest drop in a month despite a raft of positive data. Consumer confidence surged more than expected in June, new home sales for May rose more than forecast, and the S&P/Case-Shiller home price index for April showed a 10.8 percent annual increase.