* Asian stock markets : https://tmsnrt.rs/2zpUAr4
* Nikkei falls 0.5%, Asia ex-Japan near 16-wk low
* Yen, sovereign bonds buoyed by safe-haven bid
* Pound under pressure on reports PM May to quit
* Oil prices nurse losses as inventories build
By Wayne Cole
SYDNEY, May 23 (Reuters) - Asian shares were stuck in the red on Thursday amid worries the Sino-U.S. trade conflict was fast morphing into a technology cold war between the world's two largest economies.
Late Wednesday, Reuters reported the U.S. administration was considering Huawei-like sanctions on Chinese video surveillance firm Hikvision 002415.SZ over the country's treatment of its Uighur Muslim minority, according to a person briefed on the matter. the United States placed Huawei Technologies on a trade blacklist last week, British chip designer ARM has halted relations with Huawei HWT.L in order to comply with the blockade. China, the key risk is that the combined effects of investment restrictions, export controls, and tariffs will rewire supply chains and weaken manufacturing investment, particularly in the technology sectors driving growth," ratings agency S&P warned in a special report.
Minutes of the U.S. Federal Reserve's last meeting out on Wednesday underlined its readiness to be patient on policy "for some time" given the uncertain global outlook.
The chance of a rate cut seemed to diminish as many Fed policy makers saw recent weakness in inflation as "transitory", though the latest escalation in the trade war means markets are still wagering on an eventual easing FEDWATCH .
Yields on two-year Treasuries US2YT=RR of 2.237% are also well below the current effective funds rate at 2.39%.
There remains no end in sight to the trade dispute. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Wednesday said it would be at least a month before the U.S. would enact proposed tariffs on $300 billion in Chinese imports as it studies the impact on American consumers. mood on Wall Street was cautious with the Dow .DJI ending Wednesday down 0.39%, while the S&P 500 .SPX lost 0.28% and the Nasdaq .IXIC 0.45%.
Shares in chipmaker Qualcomm Inc QCOM.O dived 10.9% after a federal judge ruled the company illegally suppressed competition in the market for smartphone chips by threatening to cut off supplies and extracting excessive licensing fees.
MORE BREXIT CHAOS
In currencies, constant trade friction saw the safe haven yen in demand again as the dollar dipped to 110.22 yen JPY= and away from the week's top of 110.67.
Sterling was the main mover, sliding to a four-month low at $1.2625 GBP= before steadying at $1.2660 in Asia. GBP/
British Prime Minister Theresa May came under intense pressure after her latest Brexit gambit backfired and fuelled calls for her to quit. Brexit supporter Andrea Leadsom resigned from the government on Wednesday and British media reported May could announce her departure date as early as Friday.
Uncertainty is the only clear certainty in the near term," said Westpac macro strategist Tim Riddell.
"The risk of a hard-Brexit replacement for May has increased the risks of a hard Brexit result or even a forced no-deal exit," he added "Such an event would likely force GBP lower, increase risks of assets sliding and BoE taking counter action to support assets."
In commodity markets, spot gold edged up a touch to $1,274.25 per ounce XAU= .
Oil prices were consolidating after falling around 2% overnight as an unexpected build in U.S. crude inventories compounded investor worries about demand. O/R
<^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Asia stock markets
https://tmsnrt.rs/2zpUAr4 Asia-Pacific valuations
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^> (Editing by Shri Navaratnam)
Add Chart to Comment
We encourage you to use comments to engage with users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind:
- Enrich the conversation
- Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed.
- Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically.
- Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases.
- NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and links within a comment will be removed
- Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user.
- Don’t Monopolize the Conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also believe strongly in giving everyone a chance to air their thoughts. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
- Only English comments will be allowed.
Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at Investing.com’s discretion.