Asian stocks trade sideways after Trump criticizes Fed
- Asian stocks searched for direction on Friday, with major markets hovering around breakeven.
- President Donald Trump told CNBC he “wasn’t thrilled” with the Federal Reserve hiking rates.
- The dollar eased from a one-year high following Trump’s comments.
Asian shares were muted on the last trading day of the week as investors searched for direction after stocks stateside slipped amid U.S. President Donald Trump’s criticism of the Federal Reserve, while the dollar eased from a one-year high.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 recorded marginal declines in morning trade, slipping 0.08 percent as the financials and capital goods sectors fell while utilities held onto gains. The broader Topix hovered around the flat line, last trading higher by 0.03 percent.
South Korean stocks were also little changed in early trade, with the Kospi edging higher by 0.06 percent.
Down Under, the S&P/ASX 200 tacked on 0.17 percent as the energy subindex led gains, climbing by 1.06 percent. Those gains were offset by steep losses in materials, which dropped 1 percent after base metal prices took a hit overnight.
The sideways trade in Asia came on the back of slight declines seen stateside, with U.S. stocks slipping on Thursday as earnings season rolled on, with investors digesting comments from Trump on the Fed.
Trump told CNBC on Thursday that he was “not thrilled” with the central bank hiking interest rates. “Because we go up and every time you go up they want to raise rates again. I don’t really — I am not happy about it. But at the same time I’m letting them do what they feel is best,” he told CNBC’s Joe Kernen in an interview.
The White House later emphasized that the president did not mean to influence the central bank’s decision-making.
“Given his penchant for breaking with tradition, we are not surprised with the president’s comments … His comments are likely to add to financial market volatility, at least in the beginning,” Joseph Capurso, a currency strategist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia, wrote in a note.
CBA forecasts U.S. growth to slow from 2020 amid higher interest rates and fading fiscal stimulus, and expects more comments from Trump on interest rates.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 0.53 percent, or 134.79 points, to close at 25,064.50, the S&P 500 edged down by 0.4 percent to 2,804.49 and the Nasdaq Composite shed 0.37 percent to finish the session at 7,825.30.
Meanwhile, the dollar index, which tracks the U.S. currency against a basket of peers, last stood at 95.126 at 8:02 a.m. HK/SIN. The index had touched a one-year high of 95.652 overnight before taking a dip on Trump’s Fed comments. The dollar stumbled against the yen, last trading at 112.37.
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