SYDNEY- Asian shares stumbled as the Sino-US trade talks produced nothing but a stream of conflicting messages, while concerns about a glut of supply left oil prices nursing their biggest one-day loss in seven weeks.
Figures from the American Petroleum Institute out late Tuesday showed a far larger rise in crude stocks than expected. That followed reports Russia was unlikely to deepen its cuts to crude output.
Brent crude futures eased another 5 cents to $60.86 a barrel, after sliding 2.6 percent overnight, while US crude recouped a slight 8 cents to $55.29.
The mood in share markets was subdued with MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan off 0.7 percent. Japan’s Nikkei fell 0.8 percent and Shanghai blue chips 0.3 percent.
E-Mini futures for the S&P 500 shed 0.26 percent and EUROSTOXX 50 futures 0.2 percent.
The prospect for progress on trade seemed to dim when China condemned a US Senate measure on Hong Kong, vowing to take the steps necessary to safeguard its sovereignty and security.
The Senate unanimously passed legislation aimed at protecting human rights in Hong Kong.
Late Tuesday, US President Donald Trump had threatened to raise tariffs further if China would not agree to a deal that he liked.
The aggressive tone unsettled Wall Street and the Dow ended down 0.36 percent, while the S&P 500 lost 0.06 percent and the Nasdaq added 0.24 percent.
Dour forecasts from retailers Home Depot and Kohl’s fuelled worries about consumer spending, while the energy sector was the S&P’s biggest loser as oil slid.
“The immediate focus remains on the US-China trade talks, and markets seem reluctant to move much in either direction until they are resolved,” wrote analysts at ANZ in a note.
“It was noticeable that fixed income markets rallied despite equity markets being stable, suggestive of a market that remains cautious about the growth outlook.”
Yields on US 10-year Treasuries dropped further to a two-week trough of 1.75 percent, with a marked flattening of the curve hinting at a possible return of recession fears. – Reuters