SINGAPORE/WASHINGTON- Asian equities eased from a record high on Thursday as stalled US stimulus talks and a sell-off in tech stocks weighed, while sterling traders sat on a knife’s edge as last-ditch Brexit negotiations yielded only an agreement to keep talking.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan eased 0.3 percent, while Japan’s Nikkei fell by the same margin. Both are up more than 60 percent from March lows.
US Treasuries rose and the dollar steadied after a volatile overnight session in currency markets, with traders now looking ahead to a European Central Bank monetary policy meeting. Sterling teetered at $1.3363 as it awaits a Brexit resolution.
“We’ve risen so far so fast that it’s making investors cautious,” said Michael McCarthy, chief strategist at stockbroker CMC Markets in Sydney.
“The fall in tech stocks was a bit of a concern, given that they’ve risen in all market weather over the last six weeks, so to see them come off might signal that we’re looking at a short term corrective move.”
A near 2 percent drop in the Nasdaq on Wednesday was driven by a 1.9 percent fall in Facebook shares after US regulators filed lawsuits alleging the company used its dominance to buy or crush rivals, harming competition.
Meanwhile, breakthroughs were elusive in long-running US pandemic relief negotiations and talks between British and European Union leaders over trade arrangements post Brexit.