Global market wrap up: Asian shares edge down, take cue from Wall Street

By Reuters/Lisa Twaronite   May 11, 2016 | 05:16 pm PT
Asian shares fell on Thursday following a dismal day on Wall Street, while crude oil futures gave back some of their overnight gains after jumping on an unexpected fall in U.S. crude inventories.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 0.2 percent in early trading, in the wake of the worst day for U.S. share markets since February, following downbeat quarterly retail reports.

All of the 10 major S&P 500 sectors fell except for utilities, which gained 0.24 percent.

Japan's Nikkei stock index percent skidded 0.9 percent.

Crude oil futures were lower in Asian trading after getting a lift when the U.S. government unexpectedly said crude inventories fell for the first time since March.

U.S. crude slipped 0.8 percent to $45.85 per barrel after adding 3.5 percent on Wednesday. Brent crude shed 0.8 percent to $47.22 after settling up 4.6 percent overnight and gaining 4.3 percent in the previous session.

"At this point, investors see oil extending its rally as a sign of improvement in global growth," said Jennifer Vail, head of fixed-income research at U.S. Bank Wealth Management in Portland, Oregon.

But the weak retail reports offset any lift in sentiment, she said. In light of the murky economic outlook, U.S. Federal Reserve policymakers remain concerned about whether the market could stomach another interest rate hike.

"They (the Fed) really want to raise the policy rate so that they have some flexibility should the domestic economy need it, but given this highly unusual slow-growth environment, it's been difficult for there to be clear signals that it can digest policy normalization," Vail said.

Wall Street's top banks now see the U.S. central bank's next hike coming in September, according to a Reuters survey conducted on Friday after a weaker-than-expected rise in U.S. payrolls.

Later on Thursday, the Bank of England is expected to say that its nine Monetary Policy Committee members voted to keep rates on hold at a record low of 0.5 percent, where they have remained for more than seven years.

BOE Governor Mark Carney will tread carefully back into Britain's debate on whether to leave the European Union, when he sets out the central bank's latest forecasts.

The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six other currencies, was steady at 93.836, but remained below a two-week high of 94.356 set on Wednesday as investors took profits on the U.S. currency's recent gains.

The euro was steady at $1.1426, while the dollar edged down 0.1 percent to 108.30 yen. It had notched a two-week high of 109.37 yen on Wednesday.

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