NEW YORK- Asian equities pulled backed on Wednesday as an impasse in US economic stimulus negotiations pushed global stocks lower and sent investors into safe-haven assets like gold, which hovered near record highs.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index futures were down 0.14 percent. Australian S&P/ASX 200 was flat while Japan’s Nikkei 225 futures dipped 0.5 percent.
“We’ve had some negative leads particularly from US and European stock markets,” said Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney, pointing to the overnight decline of Asia-Pacific futures as an indicator of the market opening.
US data released on Tuesday showed consumer confidence ebbed in July as coronavirus infections flared across the country.
The data, along with stimulus concerns, weighed down Wall Street, where the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.77 percent, the S&P 500 dipped 0.65 percent, and the Nasdaq Composite lost 1.27 percent.
Gold is up over $125 per ounce in little more than a week as investors bet the Federal Reserve will reaffirm its super-accommodative policies at its two-day meeting ending on Wednesday, and perhaps signal a tolerance for higher inflation in the long run. Bullion pulled back from an all-time high reached earlier.
Gold surged to a record high of $1,980.57 per ounce earlier, but prices retreated as much as 3.7 percent later in the session as investors booked profits and the dollar bounced back.
The dollar index against a basket of currencies gained 0.18 percent to 93.71, after dropping to 93.47 on Monday, the lowest since June 2018.
“I think the market is just taking a pause, it’s been a fairly relentless dollar selloff,” said Vassili Serebriakov, an FX strategist at UBS in New York.
In commodity markets, oil prices fell as US lawmakers prepared to wrangle over the stimulus package and investors worried about a rise in coronavirus cases worldwide.