Asia stocks under pressure as vaccine rally falters
By Chris Prentice WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Asia stocks are likely to come under pressure on Wednesday, tracking declines on Wall Street while gold prices were buoyed by safe-haven demand as economic indicators pointed to more signs of recession. Hong Kong futures fell 0.23% and Australian shares were set to open lower, tracking U.S. market losses and as diplomatic tensions between Canberra and Beijing rose.
By Chris Prentice
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Asia stocks are likely to come under pressure on Wednesday, tracking declines on Wall Street while gold prices were buoyed by safe-haven demand as economic indicators pointed to more signs of recession.
Hong Kong futures
Australia and China traded barbs on Tuesday in an increasingly acrimonious spat over Australia's support for a global inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic.
Wall Street dropped in late-day trade after a report from medical news website STAT said early data from Moderna Inc's
"Equity markets have failed to build on Monday's exuberance which was driven in part by the excitement over U.S. drug company Moderna's early COVID-19 vaccine test results," National Australia Bank analysts said in a Wednesday note.
Data showed U.S. homebuilding dropped by the most on record last month and permits for future construction tumbled, fuelling fears the coronavirus pandemic would lead to the deepest economic contraction in the second quarter since the Great Depression.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average <.DJI> fell 1.59%, the S&P 500 <.SPX> lost 1.05% and the Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> dropped 0.54%.
The United States on Tuesday extended restrictions on cross-border travel with Canada and Mexico.
Spot gold prices
Europe's STOXX 600 index <.STOXevX> and MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe <.MIWD00000PUS> both fell. The euro and European government debt rallied on a Franco-German proposal to fund grants for regions hit hardest by the pandemic.
(Additional reporting by Tom Westbrook in Singapore; Editing by Sam Holmes)
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By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.