U.S.-China tensions, Apple, Microsoft sell-off, currencies

Australian shares are set to fall at the open on Friday, as investor sentiment takes a hit over worsening U.S.-China tensions and a sell-off in U.S. markets overnight.

The SPI futures contract was at 6,010.0, as compared to the S&P/ASX 200’s last close at 6,094.50.   

Markets in Japan are closed for a holiday on Friday.

Earnings expected on Friday include Hong Kong’s Fortune REIT, as well as South Korea’s Hyundai Mobis and Samsung SDS.

Investors will monitor U.S.-China tensions, which continued to take center stage. 

After the U.S. government ordered the closure of the Chinese consulate in Houston, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo slammed China in a speech on Thursday. He said Washington will no longer tolerate Beijing’s attempts to usurp global order.

Over in the U.S., a sell-off in tech stocks and worse-than-expected jobless claims also hit sentiment.

Apple fell 4.5% and Microsoft tumbled 4.3%, pushing the broader market lower. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 353.51 points, or 1.3%, to 26,652.33. The S&P 500 slid 1.2%, or 40.36 points, to 3,235.66, snapping a four-day winning streak. The Nasdaq Composite fell 2.2%, or 244.71 points, to 10,461.42.

Apple shares slid after reports surfaced that a number of states investigating the tech giant’s potential violations of a consumer protection law. Apple is facing antitrust scrutiny in the U.S. and abroad and its CEO will face Congress on Monday alongside Big Tech peers.

U.S. weekly jobless claims came in at 1.416 million for last week, marking the 18th straight week in which initial claims totaled more than 1 million. That was worse than the 1.3 million expected by economists in a Dow Jones poll. 


The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 94.692, continuing its steady decline this week. It slipped below the 95 level on Thursday.

The Japanese yen traded at 106.82 per dollar, after wavering between 106 and 107 for most of this week. The Australian dollar stayed above the 0.71 level, last changing hands around 0.7102.

What’s on tap (all times in HK/SIN):

  • 10:30 a.m.: Singapore’s unemployment rate
  • 1:00 p.m.: Singapore’s industrial production for June
  • Earnings: Hong Kong’s Fortune REIT, South Korea’s Hyundai Mobis, Samsung SDS

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