Asian markets rose Thursday following broad losses the previous two days but analysts warned caution was prevailing owing to geopolitical worries and fading hopes for Donald Trump’s massive stimulus drive.
Energy firms were among the main laggards, tracking losses in their US counterparts, after a surprise jump in US petroleum inventories sent oil prices skidding almost four percent Wednesday.
Tokyo ended the morning 0.3 percent higher, while Hong Kong added 0.5 percent, Shanghai gained 0.1 percent, Sydney put on 0.3 percent, Seoul edged up 0.4 percent and Singapore 0.2 percent.
But the gains come after markets have been rattled in recent weeks by a series of events that upended the optimism that saw in the year.
Trump’s failure to push through key healthcare reform last month dealt a huge blow to his chances of passing the tax-cutting, big-spending plan that had helped fan a global rally.
That was followed by a US missile strike on Syria — which hit US-Russian relations — and the ongoing sabre-rattling by North Korea that has fuelled worries about nuclear conflict.
At the same time France and Germany are preparing for elections that could have big implications for the eurozone, and Britain’s shock decision to call a general election next month.
– Energy firms lag –
And an uninspiring Federal Reserve report Wednesday on the US economy also failed to provide any lift.
“Geopolitical angst, a faltering US economy and the UK snap election are consuming investors mindsets,” said Stephen Innes, senior trader at OANDA.
“With so many uncertainties offering few incentives for investors to re-engage risk exposure, clearly there is little market bravado as dealers appear to be disposed to participate after the fact, rather than play the post-election knee-jerk.”
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