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Asian stocks and the US dollar were regaining some composure on Tuesday following a jolt in markets caused by the Trump administration’s failure to secure crucial health care reforms last week.
US markets remain a focal point for global investors. Wall Street pared early declines yesterday, with the S&P 500 closing 0.1 per cent lower, but investors were still twitchy in the wake of US President Donald Trump failing last week in his efforts to begin the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
Investors are now weighing up whether this could compromise Mr Trump’s ability to pass other proposed reforms, such as winding back financial regulation, and thus the market rally that took place since the presidential election now looks on a shakier footing.
The US dollar index, a measure of the US currency against a basket of global peers was 0.1 per cent higher today at 0.1 per cent at 99.213, recovering from a 0.5 per cent drop on Monday.
Shares in resources-related companies were leading a broad regional relief rally despite a mixed performance from commodities. Japan’s Topix was up 1 per cent, with mining stocks the top performers, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 1 per cent, with banks and miners doing the heavy lifting.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was up 0.5 per cent, while China’s Shanghai Composite down 0.1 per cent.
The Japanese yen was 0.1 per cent stronger against the dollar at ¥110.6 per dollar, facing its 10th advance in 11 sessions as investors shifted toward haven assets and the greenback sold off. The yen rallied 0.6 per cent on Monday.
The Australian dollar was up 0.2 per cent at $0.7632. Ahead of the triggering tomorrow of the UK providing official notice to leave the EU, the British pound was up 0.1 per cent at $1.2568. The euro was flat at $1.0865.
Mining stocks were up despite a mixed performance from commodities. Base metal prices on the London Metal Exchange were all lower on Monday and September futures for iron ore were down 0.7 per cent in Asia at Rmb553.5 per tonne and heading for a sixth straight decline.
Gold was fractionally lower at $1,253.94 an ounce in Asia but had bounced 0.9 per cent on Monday in its biggest one-day gain in almost a fortnight.
Oil was firmer, with Brent crude, the international benchmark, up 0.3 per cent at $50.92 a barrel and West Texas Intermediate 0.4 per cent higher at $47.94.