Article Highlights

  • MSCI ex-Japan off 0.4 pct, Nikkei down 0.9 pct
  • Asian shares off early lows, E-Minis rise
  • Dollar steadies after falling for three straight days
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Asian shares slipped on Tuesday amid escalating trade tensions and worries over the fading outlook for global tech giants, but investors held their nerves to focus instead on prospects for stronger world growth.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 0.4 percent on Tuesday, compared with losses of more than 2 percent on each of the three Wall Street indices overnight.

The U.S. dollar steadied against the safe haven yen after declining for three straight days and gold, which is often seen as a store of value during times of financial or political uncertainty, inched lower.

U.S. Treasuries saw a bit of selling too with yields on 10-year notes off two-month lows.

Meanwhile, E-Mini futures for the S&P 500 climbed 0.4 percent and Dow futures were also up 0.2 percent.

Markets are being supported by global growth, most indicators that have come out recently are pretty solid,” said Shane Oliver, Sydney-based chief investment strategist at AMP Capital.

Asian investors have looked at the noise recently and said ‘well there is nothing really new in all this’,” Oliver added. “Cool heads are prevailing.

Asian shares were mostly in the red, albeit off early lows.

Japan’s Nikkei was down 0.9 percent, having gone as deep as 1.6 percent at the open. China’s Shanghai Composite index eased 0.4 percent and the blue-chip CSI300 was off 0.7 percent.

Technology shares were hit hard on Monday after U.S. President Donald Trump attacked over the pricing of its deliveries through the United States Postal Service and promised unspecified changes.

The selling added to what has been a rough patch for technology shares this year. Facebook, Apple and some of their peers had a woeful last quarter as investors reassessed high U.S. stock valuations in light of a cocktail of negative factors.

So called FANG stocks – Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google – have been largely responsible for a multi-year bull run in world shares, although the threat of government regulation has raised worries about their outlook.

Investors were also on the backfoot as China imposed extra tariffs on 128 U.S. products, deepening a dispute between the world’s two biggest economies and stoking concerns about the impact on global growth.

China’s tit-for-tat tariffs hurt the U.S. dollar, although it saw some buying during early Asian trading on Tuesday to last trade at 105.88 yen, from a three-week peak of 107.01.

The dollar index was still a shade softer against a basket of currencies.

Oil prices ticked higher after falling more than 3.7 percent on Monday although rising Russian output and the escalating U.S.-China trade dispute still weighed.

Brent crude inched 16 cents higher to $67.80 a barrel. U.S. crude rose 13 cents to $63.14.

Spot gold ticked lower to $1,338.91.