hat resulted in the Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average trimming an early 0.5% gain back to 0.2%. The Hang Seng opened up 0.7%, but other Asian equities markets started modestly lower, with benchmarks falling between 0.2% and 0.4%.
The dollar set a string of three-year lows this week after U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said a “weaker dollar is good for trade.” That turned around Thursday when Mr. Trump said during a CNBC interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, that “the dollar is going to get stronger and stronger, and ultimately I want to see a strong dollar.”
The Wall Street Journal Dollar Index jumped from 82.82 toward 83.58 in U.S. afternoon trading. It was recently back at 83.38, down 0.1% from late New York levels. The dollar fell to ¥108.50 on Thursday, before jumping to ¥109.75; it was at ¥109.60 midmorning in Asia.
A stronger dollar, “even if it is only short-term, sparked people to put on more U.S. risk, and I think that’s going to be the flavor of the day for Asia today,” said Stephen Innes, head of trading in the Asia Pacific at Oanda.