Asian Stocks Falter As Syria Tensions Rise. Fed Minutes Mulled

Talking Points:

  • Asian stocks fell broadly on Thursday
  • Uncertainty over what western nations- led by the US- will do in Syria clouded the session
  • The Kospi was the only standout gainer

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Asian Stocks drifted lower in the main Thursday, with worries about Western military intervention in Syria front and centre.

US President Donald Trump Tweeted overnight that Russia ought to ‘get ready’ for US action, Russia having said earlier that it would shoot down any missiles targeting the Assad regime.

The Nikkei 225 ended down by just 0.1% in the end, with most other regional bourses mildly lower. The Kospi stood out, gaining as shipping and tech names caught bids of their own.

Australia’s ASX 200 seems to have failed at another upside test of its broad trading range, and also at the top of a prominent technical downtrend channel, leaving the path of least resistance looking as though it’s still to the downside.

Investors also digested the latest US Federal Reserve monetary-policy meeting minutes, released very early in the Asian session. They found the panel upbeat on economic prospects and pretty sure that inflation will continue to rise. With interest rate hikes still very much on the table, gold prices lost some of their early gains and the US Dollar rose back against the Japanese Yen. The Australian Dollar took a modest hit when weaker inflation-expectation data crossed the wires and failed to make up any of that ground in a risk-averse foreign exchange session.

Crude oil prices held up on those Syria tensions although they remained some way below their recent highs.

Yet to come Thursday are the Bank of England credit conditions survey, the European Central Bank’s account of its last monetary policy meeting and Canada’s new house price index. From the US will come continuing jobless claim figures and the export price index.

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— Written by David Cottle, DailyFX Research

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