Asian shares subdued as global growth woes linger; sterling rises

TOKYO (Reuters) – Asian shares steadied in early Wednesday trade after world stocks hit eight-week lows the previous day on worries about global economic growth, although the pound stayed firm on hopes for a Brexit deal.

FILE PHOTO: An investor watches a board showing stock information at a brokerage office in Beijing, China October 8, 2018. REUTERS/Jason Lee/File Photo

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS edged up 0.3 percent, while Japan’s Nikkei .N225 gained 0.25 percent. The Australian benchmark was up 0.11 percent.

“As uncertainty continues to prevail in financial markets across the world, many investors are staying on the sidelines until more clarity emerges in U.S. Treasury and Chinese markets,” said Yasuo Sakuma, chief investment officer at Libra Investments.

Benchmark U.S. 10-year Treasury yields US10YT=RR touched a 7-1/2-year peak of 3.261 percent and those on 30-year bonds US30YT=RR hit their highest in more than four years.

The 30-year bond yields had risen on the prospect of Federal Reserve rates rising over the next 18 months or so, but later fell back.

Traders largely ignored comments on Tuesday from U.S. President Donald Trump in which he said the Federal Reserve was going too fast in raising rates when inflation was minimal and government data pointed to a strong economy.

Italian government bond yields also fell from multi-year highs after Economy Minister Giovanni Tria pledged to do whatever is necessary to restore calm if market turbulence turns into a financial crisis.

On stock markets, Wall Street stocks showed a mixed picture, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI fell 0.21 percent while the S&P 500 .SPX and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC were little changed.

The MSCI All-Country World index .MIWD00000PUS, which tracks shares in 47 countries, hit the lowest level since August 16 overnight. It last traded up 0.l5 percent on the day.

The International Monetary Fund cut global economic growth forecasts for 2018 and 2019, as well as its U.S. and China estimates for next year, saying the two countries would feel the brunt of the impact of their trade war next year.

The dollar dipped due to a fall in U.S. bond yields after touching a seven-week peak against a basket of currencies. The dollar index .DXY last traded flat at 95.609.

Sterling GBP=D3 continued to rise after a report that rekindled hopes that Britain and the European Union are on the brink of a Brexit deal. It last traded up 0.1 percent.

The offshore yuan CNH=D4 rose 0.1 percent to 6.9225 after falling to as low as 6.9371 to the dollar earlier in the week, its weakest since early February.

Reporting by Tomo Uetake;editing by Eric Meijer

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