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| 07 August, 2018

Tuesday Outlook: Trade tensions between U.S. and China drag markets lower again

Trade tensions between the U.S. and China continue to weigh on sentiment and investors remain cautious ahead of U.S. sanctions against major oil exporter Iran that are set to kick in at (0401 GMT) on Tuesday. More commentary on Middle East markets, currencies and precious metals.

A trader looks at stock prices on a screen while working on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shortly before the closing bell in New York August 26, 2015.REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

A trader looks at stock prices on a screen while working on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shortly before the closing bell in New York August 26, 2015.REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
  • Asian shares trade lower on trade fears
  • Abu Dhabi’s index outperforms the region boosted by energy stocks
  • Oil prices retreat ahead of start of U.S. sanctions against Iran
  • Dollar and gold add gains

Global markets

Asian shares traded cautiously early on Tuesday as trade tensions between the United States and China continued to weigh on investor sentiment.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.05 percent.

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Overnight on Wall Street, strong second quarter earnings boosted the three major indices which closed higher.

“Global markets are (being) buffeted by conflicting currents. The bottom-up view of the world from a corporate perspective is positive, led by U.S. companies,” Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets, told Reuters.

“However, the increasing potential for trade disputes to slow the global economy is restraining investor enthusiasm.”

Middle East markets

Abu Dhabi’s index rose 1.6 percent on Monday boosted mainly by gains in energy shares. The index has added 11 percent so far this year.

The Abu Dhabi National Energy Co (TAQA) surged 4.2 percent, pushed higher by a rise in oil prices. Dana Gas added 0.93 percent.

First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) rose 3.3 percent and telecom firm Etisalat rose 0.3 percent.

Dubai’s index ended the day flat. 13 companies added gains and 19 others retreated.

Saudi Arabia’s index dropped 0.2 percent on profit-buying in some blue-chips.

Saudi British Bank dropped 1.8 percent, extending recent losses.

"It is not so much a shift into midcaps but more of bottom fishing in beaten down stocks, especially in the consumer sector," Vrajesh Bhandari, a portfolio manager at Al Mal Capital, told Reuters.

"In our view, the trend is still in favour of large caps as we approach the inclusion timeframe into MSCI indices next year."

Qatar’s index added 0.4 percent as Qatar Insurance rose 2 percent. Qatar's main index is up more than 16 percent so far this year.

Egypt’s index dropped 0.6 percent on Monday, as Elswedy Electric Co fell 1.9 percent and Madinet Nasr For Housing dropped 2 percent.

Kuwait’s index rose 0.5 percent, while Oman’s index added 1 percent and Bahrain’s index edged down 0.1 percent.

Oil prices

Oil prices edged down early on Tuesday, as investors were cautious ahead of U.S. sanctions against major oil exporter Iran that are set to kick in at (0401 GMT) on Tuesday.

Traders in Asia told Reuters they were holding back on making bets on oil ahead of European and U.S. trading hours, which tend to see much higher liquidity and stronger price movements.

Spot Brent crude oil futures were at $73.74 per barrel at 0100 GMT on Tuesday, down 1 cent from their last close.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were down 8 cents at $68.93 barrel.

Currencies

The dollar index against a basket of six major currencies rose to a near three-week high of 95.515 on Tuesday, before pulling back slightly to 95.347.

The dollar was steady at 111.34 yen after edging up 0.1 percent overnight.

Precious metals

Gold prices edged up early on Tuesday.

Spot gold was up 0.2 percent at $1,208.06 an ounce at 0051 GMT.

U.S. gold futures were little changed at $1217.10 an ounce.

 

Gain a deeper understanding of financial markets through Thomson Reuters Eikon.

(Writing by Gerard Aoun; Editing by Mily Chakrabarty)
(gerard.aoun@thomsonreuters.com)

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