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Major stock indexes wobble ahead of Asia's Friday trading day

U.S. markets wobbled, European stocks stumbled overnight and yields on U.S. Treasury notes slid ahead of Asia’s Friday trading day.

Most major U.S. indexes closed little changed following a Politico report that President Donald Trump favored Federal Reserve Governor Jerome Powell out of a pool of candidates being considered to succeed Fed Chair Janet Yellen.

U.S. markets, which initially recorded declines earlier in the session, finished the day near the flat line following the news. The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 0.02 percent, or 5.44 points, at a record 23,163.04, the S&P 500 inched higher by 0.03 percent, or 0.84 points, to end at 2,562.10 and the Nasdaq slid 0.29 percent, or 19.15 points, to close at 6,605.07.

Yields on U.S. government debt fell after the report. The 10-year U.S. Treasury note yielded 2.3178 percent on Thursday, compared to the 2.34 percent handle seen Wednesday U.S. time.

Elsewhere, European stocks closed lower on Thursday after Spain’s government said it would suspend the autonomy of Catalonia after its leader did not give further clarity on the region’s independence. The STOXX 600 declined some 0.6 percent and Spain’s IBEX lost 0.74 percent.

Although indexes in Asia finished mixed in the last session, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index closed nearly 2 percent down on Thursday due to a range of factors including tighter liquidity and comments from the governor of China’s central bank, experts told CNBC.

People’s Bank of China Governor Zhou Xiaochuan had warned Thursday that too much optimism in markets could lead to a collapse of asset prices, Reuters reported.

That sentiment looks set to extend to the Friday trading session in Asia. Futures pointed to a lower open for Japanese equities after the benchmark Nikkei 225 closed higher for the 13th straight session on Thursday. Nikkei futures traded in Chicago were down 0.48 percent at 21,345 and Osaka futures were off 0.6 percent at 21,320. Those were substantially below the benchmark index’s previous close of 21,448.52.

Politics will also be in the spotlight in Japan as the country prepares to head to the polls on Oct. 22.

Down Under, the S&P/ASX 200 shed 0.16 percent in early trade.

India markets remain closed for a public holiday.

In currencies, the dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six currencies, edged down to 93.266 at 7:01 a.m. HK/SIN. The U.S. currency was also softer against the Japanese yen at 112.56.

The New Zealand dollar was also in focus after the currency tumbled in the last session on news that the Labour Party would form a coalition government with the nationalist party, New Zealand First. The Kiwi dollar traded at $0.7027, off levels around the $0.71 handle seen for most of the week.

On the energy front, oil prices declined on Thursday. Brent crude tumbled 1.6 percent to settle at $57.23 a barrel and U.S. West Texas Intermediate fell 1.4 percent to settle at $51.29.

The economic calendar for today is fairly light (all times in HK/SIN):

  • 12:00 p.m.: Malaysia September CPI
  • 4:00 p.m.: Taiwan September export orders
  • 4:30 p.m.: Indonesia third-quarter FDI
  • 4:30 p.m.: Hong Kong fourth-quarter business confidence

— CNBC’s Patti Domm and Liz Moyer contributed to this report.

Source: cnbc china
Major stock indexes wobble ahead of Asia's Friday trading day

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