Markets dip

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    WASHINGTON/SINGAPORE- Asian shares slipped and the dollar was under pressure on Wednesday in the lead up to the first US presidential debate, as financial markets looked to take a measure of both candidates.

    The first face-off between Democrat Joe Biden and President Donald Trump, is seen by some political analysts as Trump’s best chance to upend a race where he has consistently lagged in opinion polls.

    Gains for Trump in the debate could lift otherwise cautious market sentiment, said Michael McCarthy, chief strategist at broker CMC Markets in Sydney.

    MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan edged down 0.1 percent in early trade. It is headed for a monthly drop of 3.3 percent, the largest fall since March.

    Japan’s Nikkei was down 0.2 percent and Australia’s ASX 200 fell 1.3 percent, while markets in Seoul rose 0.8 percent.

    Futures pointed to small opening gains in China and Hong Kong. S&P 500 futures were steady, last trading 0.1 percent firmer, with moves slight ahead of the debate.

    Steady Asian trade followed a dip on Wall Street which snapped a three-day rally as traders approached the debate with trepidation and fretted about whether the next round of US fiscal stimulus might be falling by the wayside.

    The Dow and S&P 500 fell half a percent and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.3 percent.