Asia stocks off highs


    SYDNEY- Asian shares took a breather on Monday while Treasury yields were at 10-month highs as “trillions” in new US fiscal stimulus plans were set to be unveiled this week, stoking a global reflation trade.

    Investors were keeping a wary eye on US politics as pressure grew to impeach President Donald Trump, though signs were an actual trial could be some time away.

    MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan dipped 0.2 percent, having surged 5 percent last week to record highs. Japan’s Nikkei was on holiday after closing at a 30-year high on Friday.

    South Korea went flat after an early jump, and Chinese blue chips firmed 0.7 percent.

    “Asia has come through the second global crisis this millennium with its credentials,” said ANZ chief economist Richard Yetsenga.

    “Asia’s growth is stronger, with for the most part better demographics and debt levels, than advanced economies.”

    He noted a turnaround in fortunes between the semiconductor and energy sectors highlighted Asia’s success, given the region produced around 45 percent of the world’s semiconductors.

    “For the first time the global semiconductor sector’s market capitalization has surpassed energy,” he said. “At the time of the last crisis, 12 years ago, the energy sector was more than five times larger.”

    Futures for the S&P 500 slipped 0.6 percent from all-time peaks, after gaining 1.8 percent last week. E1UROSTOXX 50 futures eased 0.1 percent and FTSE futures were flat.