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Asia market mood wary after fractious Trump briefing

Friday 04:50 GMT

Overview

Asian stocks were mixed in the wake of a retreat by US stocks and the dollar as investors continued to assess the fallout from Donald Trump’s combative press conference on Wednesday.

What to watch

Shares in Nintendo were down 2 per cent after the company announced details about its new Switch video game console, including price and technical specifications. The device, a hybrid of a handheld and home console that is slated for release globally on March 3, is seen as critical in Nintendo’s battle against traditional rivals Sony and Microsoft, as well as efforts to win over smartphone gamers.

Since the console was announced in October, though, shareholders have opted to err on the side of caution.

Equities

Japan’s Topix was up 0.4 per cent and the Nikkei 225 gained 0.6 per cent, with exporters enjoying some relief as the yen headed for its first weakening in five sessions.

Banks and resources stocks weighed heavily on Australia’s S&P/ASX 200, which was down 0.8 per cent and on track for its biggest one-day drop since mid-December.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was up 0.5 per cent, while China’s Shanghai Composite eked out a 0.1 per cent gain and the technology-focused Shenzhen Composite dropped 0.3 per cent.

On Wall Street the S&P 500 fell 0.2 per cent, with sentiment damped by Mr Trump’s press conference at which the US president-elect signalled a tough line on drug pricing and a potential border tax on US companies that shifted manufacturing to Mexico. Investors hoping for details on his fiscal spending and infrastructure plans were left disappointed.

Forex

The South Korean won was the region’s top-performing currency, up 0.6 per cent against the dollar, as the country’s central bank kept its key interest rate on hold at 1.25 per cent, as expected.

Broad weakness in the US currency overnight buoyed most Asian currencies, although the Japanese yen was 0.2 per cent weaker at ¥‎114.99, pulling back from a one-month high.

The US dollar index was up 0.1 per cent at 101.49 after falling 0.4 per cent on Thursday.

The Australian dollar was flat at $0.7485, but for the week it has advanced 2.5 per cent, putting it in line for its biggest weekly gain since early June.

Commodities

Oil remained on a recovery track. Brent crude, the international benchmark, was up 0.1 per cent at $56.04 and eyeing a third straight day of gains, while West Texas Intermediate edged up 0.1 per cent to $53.07.

Gold was down 0.1 per cent at $1,194.18 an ounce and on track for its first decline in five sessions.

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