LONDON (Reuters) – World stocks ended four days of gains on Friday after U.S. President Donald Trump cranked up simmering tensions with China by banning U.S. transactions with two popular Chinese apps, Tencent’s WeChat and ByteDance’s Tiktok.
Chinese stocks led losers in Asia and its currency slumped after Trump issued the executive orders. His administration said this week it was stepping up efforts to purge “untrusted” Chinese apps from U.S. digital networks and called TikTok and WeChat “significant threats.”
“The U.S. pressure on China’s tech sector appears likely to continue in the presidential elections, injecting volatility in the sector and opening the door to escalatory retaliation,” UBS strategists said.
European stocks opened lower, with major indexes down between 0.2% to 0.4% in early trading .FTSE.
MSCI’s broadest index of world stocks .MIWD00000PUS fell 0.2% on Friday after up four consecutive days of gains. It was less than 3% away from a late February peak.
Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS fell 1%, with mainland Chinese indexes down more than 1% each, even though Chinese trade data for July showed exports beat expectations.
Risk appetite was also subdued on Friday with hopes fading for a quick deal by U.S. policymakers on stimulus worth at least $1 trillion to support the country’s fragile economy. The White House and Democrats remained far apart on the size of the stimulus package and what to include.
The risk-off mood pushed U.S. Treasury yields lower and offered a brief respite to the struggling dollar, which has been under pressure in recent weeks. The 10-year U.S. Treasury yield US10YT=RR dipped 1.1 basis points to 0.5198%, near Thursday’s five-month low of 0.504%.
Closely watched U.S. non-farm payrolls data, due at 1230 GMT, is expected to show an increase of 1.58 million in July, compared with 4.8 million in June.
Gold XAU= hit a record high of $2,075.2 per ounce XAU= before succumbing to profit-taking to slip to $2,063.
Silver dropped 1.7% to $28.452 per ounce XAG= following its rise to a seven-year high of $29.838.
Oil prices were little changed, with Brent futures LCOc1 down 0.1% at $45.04 per barrel.
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