Stocks in Asia Pacific declined in Wednesday morning trade as investors weighed the potential impact of rising tensions between Washington and Beijing against economies reopening, as coronavirus containment measures are eased.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 shed 0.35% in early trade while the Topix index dipped 0.16%. Over in South Korea, the Kospi edged 0.29% lower.

Shares in Australia also fell, with the S&P/ASX 200 dropping 1.02%.

Overall, the MSCI Asia-ex Japan index traded 0.21% lower.

Developments in U.S.-China relations were likely watched by investors on Wednesday. A Bloomberg News report said the U.S. was considering sanctions on Chinese firms and officials over the situation in Hong Kong. U.S. President Donald Trump said Tuesday afternoon he would make an announcement about the administration’s response to China’s actions by the end of this week. 

Stocks on Wall Street surged overnight stateside, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average gaining 529.95 points, or 2.2%, to close at 24,995.11. The S&P 500 rallied 1.2% to end its trading day at 2,991.77 while the Nasdaq Composite lagged, rising just 0.2% to close at 9,340.22.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, last traded at 99.016 after slipping from levels above 99.2 earlier.

The Japanese yen traded at 107.45 per dollar after strengthening from levels above 107.7 yesterday. The Australian dollar was at $0.6643 after rising sharply from levels below $0.66 yesterday.

Oil prices dipped in the morning of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures down 0.8% to $35.88 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also slipped 1.19% to $33.94 per barrel.

Here’s a look at what’s on tap for Wednesday:

  • China: Industrial profits for April at 9:30 a.m. HK/SIN

— CNBC’s Maggie Fitzgerald contributed to this report.



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