Asia Shares Retreat From Recent Highs Amid Geopolitical Concerns

  • Regional index poised for fourth consecutive monthly advance
  • China’s biggest banks due to deliver 1Q results today

Asian stocks slid from fresh 22-month highs as uncertainty surrounding U.S President Donald Trump’s long-term plans and ongoing geopolitical concerns weigh on the regional index ahead of earnings reports from China’s largest banks.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index slipped 0.3 percent to 149.02 as of 4:42 p.m. in Hong Kong, even as its set to post a fourth consecutive monthly advance, its longest winning streak in two years. Japan’s Topix staged its best weekly performance since December despite falling 0.3 percent on the day. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index retreated 0.3 percent.

Trump has warned a “major conflict” with North Korea is possible, according to an interview with Reuters, while House GOP leaders said Thursday they aren’t ready to hold a vote on repealing Obamacare. France’s presidential contest is moving into its final 10 days.

“There are uncertainties including how Trump will deliver his promises and what will be the final outcome of the French election,” said Margaret Yang, an analyst at CMC Markets in Singapore. “Fundamentals are definitely picking up.”

Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd., Agricultural Bank of China Ltd., and Bank of China Ltd. are due to report first-quarter results today. China Construction Bank Corp. yesterday posted an increase in first-quarter profit as fee income climbed.

Shanghai Pharmaceuticals Holding Co. jumped 4 percent in Hong Kong after reporting first-quarter sales and profit growth. Omron Corp. slumped 7.8 percent in Tokyo, its biggest drop in 10 months, after the company forecast earnings lower than analysts’ estimates.

Summary

  • South Korea’s Kospi -0.2%; S&P/ASX 200 little changed
  • Shanghai Composite Index +0.1%; Shenzhen Composite +0.4%
  • Hang Seng China Enterprises Index -0.4%
  • Taiwan’s Taiex +0.1; Singapore’s Straits Times Index +0.3%
  • Malaysia’s KLCI Index +0.1%; Thailand’s SET Index -0.1%; Vietnam Stock Index +0.2%
  • Indonesia’s Jakarta Composite -0.3%; India’s Sensex -0.4%
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