Last week has been a terrible one for President Domald Trump. His former campaign chairman Paul Manafort was found guilty on eight counts of bank and tax fraud on Tuesday, while his ex-personal lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations and other charges on the same day.
Asian equities were trading mixed on Monday after a nervous last week, which saw wild swings in global equities and emerging market currencies. News that officials from Beijing are heading to the U.S. on Wednesday to restart trade negotiations is likely to provide some stability, however, don’t expect much to the upside as these talks are considered low level and won’t likely translate into immediate decisions.
The Dollar Index retreated from its 2018 peak of 96.98 following news that China will resume trade talks with the United States later this month. The news allowed the Yuan and other emerging market currencies to rally after a steep selloff led by the Turkish crisis and ongoing trade tensions.
After a rough start to the week, Asian stocks seem to have found some support as the Turkish Lira steadied below 7 per dollar. Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 1.8% with all sectors in green territory as the Yen gave up some of yesterday’s gains. Australia’s ASX 200 and the Korean KOSPI also edged higher but gains were limited.
The Turkish Lira resumed its drop early Monday touching a new record low of 7.21 per dollar before recovering slightly during Asia trade. Comments from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak over the weekend that a plan would be revealed today to calm the markets failed to restore confidence.
Investors in Asia largely brushed off the ongoing trade fight between China and the United States, with Shanghai’s blue-chip stocks climbing 2.4%, a move supported by the tech and financial sectors. Solid economic data and possible government intervention through monetary & fiscal policies encouraged investors to take some risk on Thursday.
Asian stocks rallied on Tuesday, following a surge on Wall Street that sent the S&P 500 to a near all-time high and the Cboe’s Volatility Index to its lowest level since late January. The strong earnings season has been the key factor lifting U.S. stocks. With 24.1% earnings growth and more than 79% of S&P 500 companies managing to beat profit forecasts it looks to be the best earning season in recent history.
Escalating trade tensions between the U.S. and China remain the financial markets’ hottest topic. President Donald Trump seems to be celebrating winning the first battle of this war, saying that “tariffs are working big time” in a Tweet on Sunday. He says that they will enable the U.S. to start reducing the large amount of debt accumulated throughout President Barack Obama’s administration.
Trade concerns between the world’s largest two economies returned to haunt markets on Thursday after President Trump ordered his administration to consider more than doubling previously proposed tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods. The new proposed tariffs of 25% dragged Asian equities heavily during morning trade, sending the Hang Seng Index to its lowest level since September 2017.
Asian equities kicked off the week in negative territory following the declines on Wall Street on Friday. The solid U.S. GDP data did little to support markets. The economy expanded at its quickest pace since 2014 in the second quarter, growing 4.1%, almost double the first quarter’s growth. However, investors have already priced in the positive news and so it came as no surprise. In fact, the surprise was in some of the big tech earnings results, in particular, Facebook, Twitter and Intel, which led to declines of more than 2.4% on the Nasdaq Composite Index on Thursday and Friday.