By Marketwatch and Associated Press
Asian markets retreated Wednesday, as the afterglow of last weekend’s trade-truce announcement gave way to uncertainty that a deal will actually be made anytime soon.
Peter Navarro, President Donald Trump’s top trade adviser, said Tuesday that talks between the U.S. and China were headed in a “very good direction,” but a lack of concrete details and both sides’ hardened positions make the chances for a trade deal little better than they were before Trump’s meeting with China’s President Xi Jinping. While Trump said Monday that some talks had “already begun,” high-level negotiations have not been held since early May, and none are scheduled.
Tuesday night, Trump said he intends to nominate Judy Shelton and Christopher Waller to two vacant spots on the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors. That could give Trump more allies in his efforts to persuade the Fed to cut interest rates; Shelton has publicly argued for cutting rates, and Waller has been a deputy to St. Louis Fed President James Bullard, who pushed for a rate cut at the Fed’s last meeting.
Japan’s Nikkei /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK +0.17% closed down 0.5% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI -0.19% edged down 0.3%. The Shanghai Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598127/delayed CN:SHCOMP +1.19% fell 0.8%, while the smaller-cap Shenzhen Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598015/delayed CN:399106 +1.25% fell 1.1%. South Korea’s Kospi /zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed KR:180721 -1.23% dropped 1.2%, and benchmark indexes in Taiwan /zigman2/quotes/210597977/delayed TW:Y9999 +0.25% , Singapore /zigman2/quotes/210597985/delayed SG:STI -0.56% and Indonesia /zigman2/quotes/210597981/delayed ID:JAKIDX +0.16% all declined. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 /zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed AU:XJO +0.58% was one of the region’s outliers, rising 0.4%.
Among individual stocks, Fast Retailing /zigman2/quotes/200663563/delayed JP:9983 +0.41% gained in Tokyo trading, while SoftBank /zigman2/quotes/207303954/delayed JP:9984 -1.51% and Inpex /zigman2/quotes/206689846/delayed JP:1605 -1.58% fell. In Hong Kong, PetroChina /zigman2/quotes/204979431/delayed HK:857 -0.73% and Tencent /zigman2/quotes/204605823/delayed HK:700 -0.69% declined. Samsung /zigman2/quotes/209800866/delayed KR:005930 -1.19% and SK Hynix /zigman2/quotes/209966407/delayed KR:066570 +1.95% dropped in South Korea, and Taiwan Semiconductor /zigman2/quotes/207385621/delayed TW:2330 -0.47% dropped in Taiwan. Beach Energy /zigman2/quotes/200513631/delayed AU:BPT +1.72% and Oil Search /zigman2/quotes/204702973/delayed AU:OSH -1.57% slid in Australia as oil prices dropped to a two-week low.
Trading was subdued ahead of the Independence Day holiday Thursday in the U.S., where markets will close early on Wednesday.
On Wall Street, stocks shook off an early wobble to eke out small gains Tuesday, nudging the S&P 500 index to an all-time high for the second straight day.
Traders are waiting to see what will come from the latest truce in the U.S.-China trade war. They’re also looking ahead to a key government jobs report due out Friday, among other potential market-moving developments in the next few weeks.
The S&P 500 /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX -0.02% rose 0.3% to 2,973.01, the benchmark index’s seventh record high this year. The Dow Jones Industrial Average /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA +0.12% gained 0.3% to 26,786.68. The Nasdaq composite /zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime COMP -0.21% added 0.2% to 8,109.09.
In commodities trading, benchmark crude oil gained 18 cents to $56.44 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It fell $2.84 to settle at $56.25 a barrel.
Brent crude , the international standard, added 16 cents to $62.55 per barrel. It lost $2.66 to close at $62.40 a barrel on Tuesday.
The dollar /zigman2/quotes/210561789/realtime/sampled USDJPY -0.3096% fell to 107.65 Japanese yen from 108.90 yen on Tuesday.