By Alun John and Chibuike Oguh
HONG KONG/NEW YORK, Aug 18 (Reuters) – Asian stocks inched up on Tuesday as Sino-U.S. tensions weighed on optimism generated by Wall Street’s tech-driven rally, while the dollar dropped against almost all major currencies.
The Trump administration announced on Monday it would further tighten restrictions on China’s Huawei Technologies Co [RIC:RIC:HWT.UL], aimed at cracking down on its access to commercially available chips.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS gained 0.19%, to sit not far short of its pre-pandemic late January high.
Japan’s Nikkei .N225 dipped 0.52%, while most markets traded in a narrow band with Chinese blue chips .CSI300 dropping 0.25%. The Australian benchmark index .AXJO rose 0.12%.
E-Mini futures for the S&P 500 ESc1 were flat.
The Nasdaq surged to a record high close on Monday and the S&P 500 approached its own record level, with both indexes lifted by technology stocks.
“We saw some strength in tech again with semiconductors driving the boat,” Thomas Hayes, chairman at Great Hill Capital said of the U.S. rally.
The U.S. dollar =USD softened against most currencies after disappointing manufacturing and mortgage data, Commonwealth Bank of Australia analyst Joseph Capurso wrote in a note.
But moves were small ahead of Wednesday’s release of the Federal Reserve minutes, with speculation that the Fed will adopt an average inflation target, which would seek to push inflation above 2% for some time.
Bitcoin BTC hovered near the 13 month high it hit on Monday.
On the commodities front, oil prices edged lower on Tuesday, but still mostly held onto overnight gains after OPEC+ said the producer grouping was almost fully complying with output cuts.
Brent crude LCOc1 was down 6 cents, or 0.1%, at $45.31 a barrel, after gaining 1.3% on Monday. U.S. crude CLc1 was down 0.2%, at $42.81 a barrel, having risen 2.1% in the previous session
Safe haven gold closed higher after Berkshire Hathaway also disclosed a stake in Toronto-based Barrick Gold Corp ABX.TO, one of the world’s largest mining companies.
Spot gold XAU= added 0.4% to $1,995 an ounce.
Global currencies vs. dollar http://tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh
MSCI All Country Wolrd Index Market Caphttp://tmsnrt.rs/2EmTD6j
(Reporting by Chibuike Oguh in New York and Alun John in Hong Kong; Editing by Sam Holmes & Simon Cameron-Moore)
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