HONG KONG— Asian shares steadied in early trading on Friday after losses earlier in the week, but China jitters and global growth concerns weighed on investors’ minds, while the dollar sat near a three-week high.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan recovered from early losses to trade flat, but was still down 2.7per cent on the week.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 0.5per cent after posting its lowest close in 10 months the day before, as the saga around China Evergrande Group lurched towards a conclusion, unsettling investors.

The embattled property developer’s shares dropped a further 5per cent on Friday.

Australian shares fell 1.03per cent, as a fall in iron ore prices hurt miners. However, Chinese blue chips eked out a 0.26per cent rise and Japan’s Nikkei edged up 0.42per cent to head back towards a 31-year high hit on Monday.

U.S. stock futures, the S&P 500 e-minis, were down 0.6per cent.

“We’re looking at a market that is nervous, though hasn’t seen sentiment turn outright bearish,” said Kyle Rodda, an analyst at IG markets.

If you look for catalysts that could justify the next move to the upside in equities and risk assets, they are nowhere to be seen because global growth concerns are keeping investors on edge,” he said.

Chinese data earlier this week suggested growth in the world’s second-largest economy will slow in the second half of this year, while economists polled by Reuters said they expected the U.S. economic rebound to have been dented in Q3, partly on the spread of the Delta coronavirus variant.

While respondents pushed back expectations for the Federal Reserve to announce a tapering of asset purchases to November, a likely move this year provided little support for risk assets.

This also meant that strong U.S. retail sales data overnight, a reprieve after a series of underperforming data reads, did little to boost U.S. equities. Any rise in sentiment was outweighed by gains in both U.S. yields and the dollar which pressured market-leading tech stocks and weighed on exporters.

In Asia, the yield on benchmark 10-year Treasury notes was 1.3378per cent compared with its U.S. close of 1.331per cent, and the dollar gained 0.04per cent against a basket of other majors.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.18per cent, the S&P 500 lost 0.16per cent, but the Nasdaq Composite inched up or 0.13per cent, supported by Amazon.com Inc after the strong retail data read.

Gold recovered marginally on Friday with the spot price trading at US$1,755.03 per ounce, up 0.2per cent after reaching a one month low on Thursday as higher yields hurt the non-interest bearing metal.

U.S. crude dipped 0.22per cent to US$72.45 a barrel. Brent crude fell 0.26per cent to US$75.53 per barrel, but both are still hovering just below their highest levels since early August.


(Reporting by Alun John; editing by Richard Pullin)