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Asian shares mostly lower despite easing of fears over Turkey

/ 02:35 PM August 15, 2018

Bangkok — Shares were mostly lower in Asia early Wednesday despite a rally overnight on Wall Street as investors’ jitters over the Turkish currency crisis eased.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan’s Nikkei 225 index fell 0.4 percent to 22,270.90 and in Hong Kong, the Hang Seng dropped 1.6 percent to 27,319.21. The Shanghai Composite index sank 0.9 percent to 2,756.17, while the S&P ASX 200 added 0.1 percent to 6,308.70. Shares fell in Taiwan and Singapore and gained in Indonesia.

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TURKEY TURMOIL: The Turkish lira steadied as officials from Turkey and the U.S. said the countries are in talks to ease diplomatic tensions, which have resulted in high tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminum. Stocks jumped in emerging markets like Argentina, Russia, and Brazil. Economists say Turkey’s central bank still needs to raise interest rates significantly to strengthen its currency. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has ruled out that step.

WALL STREET: In the U.S., the biggest gains went to small and mid-size companies, which do more business domestically compared to the large multinational firms on indexes like the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial average. The S&P 500 index climbed 0.6 percent to 2,839.96. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.4 percent to 25,299.92. The Nasdaq composite added 0.7 percent to 7,870.89 and the Russell 2000 index advanced 1 percent to 1,692.58.

ANALYST’S VIEWPOINT: “While we are nowhere near the elimination of concerns over Turkey, the improvement in sentiment from the initial reactions have helped U.S. markets higher overnight, setting a more benign tone for the region this morning,” Jingyi Pan of IG said in a commentary.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude fell 28 cents to $66.76 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It lost 16 cents to $67.04 per barrel on Tuesday. Brent crude, used to price international oils gave up 20 cents to $72.26 per barrel.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 111.33 yen from 111.14 yen. The euro slipped to $1.1327 from $1.1348.   /vvp

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