By Swati Pandey
SYDNEY (Reuters) – Asian stocks withdrew from nearly 8 months high on Thursday and dollars eased as cautious European And US central banks reinforced investors' concerns about the slower global economy and trade protectionism.
Spreadbetters pointed to a bad start for Europe, with Eurostoxx 50 futures flat while futures for Germany and London opened open lower.
Risk-based assets have been volatile so far this year while bonds have rallied on fears of a US recession and the possibility of a sharper slowdown in other major economies, including the euro area.
Also on behalf of the sentiment, US President Donald Trump has escalated trade tensions by threatening new tariffs on goods from the EU, although the trade dispute between China and the United States remains unresolved.
All these risks pulled down Asian stocks on Thursday.
MSCI's widest index for Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 0.4 percent after four fast days of gains took the highest since August last year. Japan's reversed early loss to end 0.1
Losses in Asia were led by Chinese stocks, with the CSI300 index being 1.7 percent, while Hong Kong dropped 0.7 percent.
Australian shares also lost ground, the pressure of political uncertainty after the prime minister had national elections on May 18.
"Traders continue to operate in a wait and see mode as they look for the next opportunity in a cautious market," said Nick Twidale, a Sydney-based analyst at Rakuten Securities Australia. "Two major event risks are now behind us with the ECB and the Fed. "
But, Twidale said, investors were still looking for a trigger that would push markets out of their well-known trading areas.
Wednesday, the European Central Bank (ECB) kept its policy of loosening and warned that threats Against global economic growth, the ECB has already pushed back its first rate hike after the crisis, and President Mario Draghi increased the possibility of more support for the demanding eurozone economy if the downturn continued.
"If we expect euro zone growth to continue to disappoint in the coming months, we believe that the political decision-makers in the ECB will adopt an even more accommodating attitude, says Capital Economics analysts in a note that.
While simple money terms are generally a blessing for stocks that investors are seeking for the dividend, share price developments could get a hit if the company's earnings suffer from a brake economy.
GREAT RETREAT & # 39;
Separate data showed that consumer prices in the US increased most in 14 months in March, but underlying inflation was good against a backdrop of lowering global economic growth.
Minutes from a March 19-20 meeting of Federal Reserve decision makers showed that they agreed to be patient about any change in interest rate policy that saw the US economy weathering a global decline without a recession over the next few years.
In currencies, British Pounds held gains after European leaders agreed to extend the deadline for Britain to leave the Union until the end of October, and stave off a potential crash out of the block on Friday without a divorce agreement but threaten more months with uncertainty.
Sterling has stayed in a triangular pattern between $ 1,2945 and $ 1,3380 over the past month or so. It was last at $ 1.3080.
Fell for a fourth straight day at 96,933 against a basket of major currencies. The euro was barely changed to $ 1.175, while the Japanese yen was weaker at 111.11 per dollar after three days of gains.
In goods, futures eased 27 cents to $ 71.60 per barrel. dipped 30 cents to $ 64.31.
Gold hovered near a two-week peak on Thursday at $ 1,306.97 an ounce.