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Equities in Asia Pacific moved lower in early trading on Wednesday as investors mulled Donald Trump’s sacking of secretary of state Rex Tillerson.
The S&P/ASX 200 in Sydney was down 0.7 per cent, with all market segments lower.
Stocks in Japan were also in negative territory with Tokyo’s Topix down 0.5 per cent as a rise for utilities companies failed to offset declines from the other major sectors. The Kospi in Seoul was down by the same amount.
Futures tip the Hang Seng to fall 0.7 per cent when trading starts in Hong Kong.
Focus has turned to the political upheaval in Washington after a muted reaction to a report on US inflation, analysts said.
“Markets have moved on from worrying about an inflation scare to focusing on continued political uncertainty in the US,” said J.P. Morgan Asset Management chief market strategist for Asia Pacific Tai Hui.
“Hopefully the Fed can provide some stability in market confidence next week by clarifying its position on monetary policy, which we believe could see the [Federal Open Market Committee] forecast of policy rate hikes moving from three this year to four, based on robust economic fundamentals,” Mr Hui added.
On Wall Street overnight, the S&P 500 closed 0.6 per cent lower after a day of choppy trading. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite ended 1 per cent lower, snapping its longest winning streak in five months as sentiment soured after Mr Trump blocked Singapore-based Broadcom’s proposed $142bn takeover of Qualcomm on national interest grounds.