Asian markets mostly down, rally checked by profit-taking

 08 Nov 2017 - 11:01

Asian markets mostly down, rally checked by profit-taking

AFP

Hong Kong: Most Asian markets fell on Wednesday following another strong day of rallies, while brokers closely watch Donald Trump's regional tour as he moves to China.

Optimism about the global economy and a string of positive earnings results have supported world equities -- pushing them to record or multi-year highs -- but profit-taking and lingering Middle East tension is keeping further gains in check.

The US president landed in Beijing on Wednesday to meet his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping. Trade, a thorny issue between the two since Trump's election a year ago, will likely top the agenda along with the North Korea crisis.

The summit comes as China released data showing its trade surplus with the United States fell last month.

Shanghai stocks ended 0.1 higher after the data showed imports remained strong, indicating a healthy economy, while exports were also holding up.

Hong Kong dipped 0.2 percent in the afternoon and Tokyo shed 0.1 percent a day after ending at a near 26-year high. Seoul edged up 0.3 percent.

Sydney and Singapore were marginally higher, but Wellington, Taipei, Jakarta and Manila were all down.

Easing concerns about the North Korea crisis were offset by worries about the Middle East after Saudi Arabia accused Iran of "direct military aggression" over a Yemeni rebel missile attack near Riyadh.

Saudi Arabia's powerful crown prince had accused Iran of supplying missiles to the rebels, something which he said "could be considered as an act of war".

On currency markets the dollar took a step back against its major peers after a report said Trump's much-vaunted corporate tax cuts could be delayed.

The Washington Post citied unnamed sources as saying Senate Republicans were considering putting off the cuts by a year to ease their cost and impact.

Trump's tax cut promises had helped drive a rally in the dollar when they were released last month.

"Traders will be watching closely as the horse-trading continues in the week and weeks ahead. There is plenty of water to flow under the bridge and plenty of self-interest groups to be satisfied," said Greg McKenna, chief market strategist at AxiTrader.