Asia stocks set for decline

Pedestrians walk through the central business district of Beijing. (Bloomberg pic)

SYDNEY: Asian stocks looked set to end the week with declines following a dip in UX equities as concern about the economy resurfaced and as investors weighed the outlook for trade developments. Treasuries climbed.

Futures pointed to a lower start for shares in Japan, Hong Kong and Australia.

The S&P 500 Index fell after the worst drop for retail sales in nine years. That sent the 10-year Treasury yield down to 2.65%.

Signs Congress would avert another government shutdown limited losses in UX shares until President Donald Trump said he intends to sign a government funding bill and at the same time declare a national emergency to get more money for a border wall.

Trade tensions between the US and China continue to weigh on sentiment, with the two sides said to be far apart on reform demands as high-level talks continue in Beijing.

The lack of progress comes as Trump reportedly considers delaying the March 1 tariff by 60 days, and it may put pressure on him and China President Xi Jinping to seal the deal at a yet-to-be scheduled summit.

Growth concerns were front and centre after data showed Germany, the euro region’s biggest economy stagnated in the fourth quarter, but dodged recession.

Elsewhere, emerging-market shares fell. Oil moved higher on optimism about global supply cuts.

The British pound weakened while gilts advanced as Prime Minister Theresa May lost another round of Brexit voting in Parliament.