Author Topic: Asia markets trade lower as investors focus on US tax reform  (Read 149 times)


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Asia markets trade lower as investors focus on US tax reform
« on: November 19, 2017, 10:47:00 PM »

Asia markets were mostly lower on Monday, following a decline in U.S. equities last Friday on lingering concerns about American tax reform.

Markets on the move

In Australia, the ASX 200 fell 0.25 percent to 5,942.3 by mid-day. The heavily-weighted financial subindex was down 0.5 percent, while the energy sector gained 0.6 percent.

Japan's Nikkei 225 was down 0.61 percent, while the Topix index fell 0.41 percent. In South Korea, the Kospi gave up early morning gains to trade down 0.29 percent.

Chinese markets traded lower, with the Shanghai composite down 1.12 percent at 3,344.89 while the Shenzhen composite fell 1.55 percent to 1,923.90. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index traded fractionally lower at 29,170.82.

One focus for investors: Analysts were cautiously optimistic about the U.S. tax reform getting done this year. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Friday that he expects a Republican tax reform bill to be sent to President Donald Trump by Christmas.

Mnuchin made his comments a day after the House passed a bill aimed at overhauling the tax code. The Senate now has to vote on its version of a tax plan.

One commentator told CNBC on Monday that he was advising investors to not make any investment decisions until there was more clarity on the tax reform.

Jim Lowell, CIO at Adviser Investments, told CNBC's "The Rundown" that the tax reform plan at the moment is more theoretical than practical. He pointed out that tax reforms also tend to have both intended and unintended consequences that are both positive and negative.

"There'll be plenty of time to digest the plan, if it actually does turn into some mode of enactment," Lowell said. "There'll also be plenty of time to figure out how to maneuver as the revisions go forward. But I would definitely advise investors to not make any investment move today based on the fact that they don't know how this tax reform plan is going to play out."

Meanwhile, the U.S. dollar traded at 93.961 against a basket of currencies at 10:00 a.m. HK/SIN, hovering near the 94.00 level it saw in the previous week.

Among other currency majors, the Japanese yen traded at 112.02 to the dollar, while the Australian dollar fetched $0.7557.