Shares in Asia weaker as Trump tensions weigh

Asian shares weakerAsian shares weaker – Asian stocks came under pressure on Thursday with tensions between Iran and the U.S, over a ballistic missile test by Tehran this week and even the tenor of with world leaders.

The slipped 0.07%, but losses were capped by a strong performance in the gold sub-index, which was up 2.38 percent. In Australia, the fell to 51.2 for January, still in expansion but well below the previous month level of 55.4. The for December came in at a surplus of 3.511 billion, wider than the 2.20 billion surplus expected.

Japanese policymakers rejected Trump’s charges of currency manipulation on Wednesday. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe defended the Bank of Japan’s huge stimulus program and said it was to reflate the economy, and was not currency manipulation.

Takeda Pharmaceutical bucked the trend to trade higher by 2.56%, a three-week high, after it rose its fiscal year sales and net profit forecast. The fel 1.05%.

Overnight, U.S. National Security Adviser Michael Flynn said late Wednesday the White House has put Iran “on notice” over the missile test, raising concerns over steps that the U.S. may take. Later, Trump tweeted that Iran has usurped power in neighboring Iraq.

“Iran is rapidly taking over more and more of Iraq even after the U.S. has squandered three trillion dollars there. Obvious long ago!”

As well, the Federal Reserve held its fire on interest rates as widely expected on Wednesday, but was optimistic on the outlook for the economy in keeping its benchmark overnight lending rate target at 0.5% to 0.75% following a 25 basis point hike in December.

“Measures of consumer and business sentiment have improved of late,” the committee said in its statement, using new language that jibes with voices on Wall Street following the election of Donald Trump as president.

“Job gains remained solid and the unemployment rate stayed near its recent low,” the statement said, reflecting just a minor tweak from language at the December meeting. Payroll processing firm ADP said non-farm private employment rose by 246,000 last month, easily surpassing forecasts for an increase of 165,000.

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