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1 February, 2018 00:00 00 AM
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Asia stocks struggle despite Trump speech after sharp US losses

AFP

AFP, HONG KONG: Asian stocks struggled yesterday as traders tracked sharp Wall Street losses despite a major speech by US President Donald Trump extolling his administration’s economic achievements.

In his annual State of the Union address, Trump said taxes had been slashed, jobs created and “the stock market has smashed one record after another”.

He also struck a conciliatory note, calling for Democrats’ support for a $1.5 trillion investment plan to renew the country’s creaking transport infrastructure. But despite an initial positive ripple from the address, Asian bourses largely failed to shrug off a strongly negative Wall Street lead, where the Dow on Tuesday posted its largest decline since May.

In his speech Trump also called for “fair” trade and declared that “the era of economic surrender is over”.

“America has also finally turned the page on decades of unfair trade deals,” said Trump.

Although he did not name any country, Trump has often hit out at what he calls unfair practices in Asia, accusing Beijing of killing US jobs.

The Asian declines meant that, despite an overall upbeat January for equities, this week’s share sell-off continued into a third day. Asian investors have locked in profits at the month-end and ahead of a series of key earnings reports and policy announcements.

Bearish sentiment was compounded by weak Chinese manufacturing data. Factory figures for January came in below expectations, hampered by crackdowns on debt and pollution levels.

Shanghai finished down 0.2 per cent, while Seoul lost 0.1 per cent and Singapore 0.4 per cent.

Tokyo shed 0.8 percent to extend its losing streak for a sixth straight day.

Japanese tech firm Fujifilm announced 10,000 job cuts by March 2020 in its Fuji Xerox subsidiary, which it said was facing an “increasingly severe” market environment.

But there was positive news as Samsung Electronics reported a 73 per cent jump in its fourth-quarter net profit, driven by demand for its memory chips and display panels, and Nintendo raised forecasts for net profit on strong Switch console sales.

Japan’s factory output also rose more than expected in December as production of automobile-related parts and other machines expanded.

Elsewhere, Hong Kong rose 0.9 per cent, Taipei added 0.2 per cent and Sydney gained 0.3 per cent.

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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