However, later reports that the U.S. administration plans to propose tariffs of 25 percent instead of the initially proposed 10 percent on $200 billion of imported Chinese goods injected uncertainty back into financial markets. A source familiar with the plan said the announcement could come as early as Wednesday. Chinese shares, the offshore yuan and the Australian dollar all weakened.
In Asia, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 0.1 percent, erasing earlier gains, while Japan’s Nikkei stock index gained 0.8 percent. S&P E-mini futures were down less than 0.1 percent at 2,815.75 after earlier edging higher. The Taiwan weighted index rose 0.4 percent, with tech shares getting a boost after Apple Inc. beat Wall Street expectations for its quarterly results thanks to robust sales of its top-of-the-line iPhone X. The company’s shares rose 3.4 percent to $196.80 in after-hours trade.
The survey showed China’s manufacturing sector grew at its slowest pace in eight months in July, dragged down by declining export orders. The Shanghai Composite index fell 0.8 percent, while the blue-chip CSI300 index lost 1 percent. Australia’s manufacturing sector also showed slower activity in July, with the Commonwealth Bank/Markit purchasing managers index at its lowest level in nearly two years. Australian shares were flat, with some support coming from miners ahead of expected strong results from Rio Tinto later on Wednesday. Policy meetings at the U.S. Federal Reserve on Wednesday and the Bank of England on Thursday also kept some investors on the sidelines. Although the U.S. central bank is expected to hold rates unchanged, investors will be looking for any change in the tone of its policy statement. Meanwhile, oil prices fell on industry data showing an unexpected rise in U.S. crude stockpiles. The slump in crude prices comes after their largest monthly decline in two years in July. U.S. crude dipped 0.4 percent to $68.47 a barrel, while Brent gave up 0.2 percent to $74.04 per barrel. Spot gold fell 0.3 percent to $1,219.91 per ounce. (reuters.com)