Asia stocks choppy as trade war fears dominate markets

Hong Kong, Aug 16 (AFP/APP):Asian markets were jittery Friday as a modest rebound in US equities failed to ease fears over the US-China trade war and its impact on the world economy.

Fears of a global recession and a drawn-out trade spat between the world’s top two economies saw the Dow suffer its worst one-day fall on Wednesday.

Although US stocks recovered slightly on Thursday, reassured by strong US retail sales and Walmart earnings, investors remained anxious, seeking out safe havens in the form of Treasury assets and gold, which continued to hover above the $1,500 level.

The yield on the 10-year US Treasury bond slid Wednesday below the yield on the two-year note, meaning the short-term interest rates were higher than the longer-term rates.

The so-called “inversion” phenomenon has been a reliable harbinger of recession for decades since it suggests that markets have a negative long-term outlook.

On Thursday the yield on the 30-year bond hit an all-time low, while the 10-year note plunged to its lowest level in three years before staging a tepid recovery.

“Better-than-expected US data probably helped sentiment in US stock markets, though it seems to have been largely ignored by the bond market,” said Stephen Innes, managing partner at VM Markets.

In Asia, markets struggled to eke out marginal gains. Hong Kong rose 0.4 percent while Shanghai was up 0.5 percent. Tokyo edged up 0.1 percent. But Singapore and Seoul shed 0.8 percent.

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