Global Market Report - March 16, 2018

Fears that the US might impose trade tariffs on Chinese goods rattled investor's nerves at the end of a choppy week

James Gard 16 March, 2018 | 10:53AM
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Asia

After an uncertain week, most Asia-Pacific markets closed on Friday lower on the day, unsettled by trade war anxieties and hesitant moves by US equities.

Talk of the US imposing trade tariffs on China, and the possible retaliatory moves from Beijing, made Chinese markets the worst performing on Friday. Trump had campaigned for the election on the basis of tackling “unfair” trade practices by China, but these have so far not materialised. So this latest development has been received badly by investors in the region.

China’s CSI 300 was off nearly 1% on the day. Japan’s equity markets were once again at the mercy of the yen, which strengthened on Friday against currency majors. The Bank of Japan chief Haruhiko Kuroda has been handed a second five-year term. Kuroda is seen as one of the key figures in Abenomics, which is designed to tackle low growth and inflation in Japan. 

Europe

Germany’s Dax was the best performer in Europe in percentage terms after a technical glitch delayed the start of trading, but the UK’s FTSE 100 was up just 8 points on Friday morning at 7,148, capping an underwhelming week for the country’s blue-chip index. A cautious trading update from housebuilder Berkeley Group (BKG) was badly received by investors used to a constant stream of upbeat statements from listed firms in the sector. Berkeley said that under current conditions, it was hard to build more homes, despite the government making that a priority in recent months. The company’s shares were off nearly 5%, also taking down Taylor Wimpey (TW) and Persimmon (PSN).

The FTSE 250’s biggest riser was NEX Group (NXG), the broker formerly known as Icap. The shares were up over 32% on talk of a bid from US-based options and futures giant CME Group.

North America

The University of Michigan Sentiment Index is today’s highlight among data releases. Consumers were relatively upbeat in February’s survey, and this is expected to continue into March.

Stock market futures suggest that investors will be preoccupied by fears of an escalating trade war with China.

In earnings, luxury jeweller Tiffany’s (TIF) reports before the open.

Next week brings interest rates into focus with the March meeting of the Federal Reserve.

The information contained within is for educational and informational purposes ONLY. It is not intended nor should it be considered an invitation or inducement to buy or sell a security or securities noted within nor should it be viewed as a communication intended to persuade or incite you to buy or sell security or securities noted within. Any commentary provided is the opinion of the author and should not be considered a personalised recommendation. The information contained within should not be a person's sole basis for making an investment decision. Please contact your financial professional before making an investment decision.

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Securities Mentioned in Article

Security NamePriceChange (%)Morningstar
Rating
Berkeley Group Holdings (The) PLC4,254.00 GBX1.79
Persimmon PLC2,242.00 GBX3.75Rating
Taylor Wimpey PLC131.15 GBX3.15

About Author

James Gard  is content editor for Morningstar.co.uk