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Asian Stocks drop as rally eases; pound holds loss


Asian stocks dropped this week as the positive sentiment at the start of the week faded and alleviated global growth concerns

The pound meanwhile held losses as the UK’s Brexit woes deepened anew.

Shares posted losses in the region’s biggest markets, with the heaviest declines coming in Japan, while futures signaled lower starts in Europe and the US. Earlier, the S&P 500 Index closed slightly higher. Treasuries and the dollar steadied after yields fell in the wake of softer inflation data that bolstered bets the Federal Reserve will remain patient. Australia’s dollar slid with bond yields after weak consumer confidence data reinforced a deteriorating economical outlook.

 “We’re pretty concerned about the direction of global growth partly because we can’t see who is going to come and save us this time,” Steve Diggle, chief executive officer and founder of Vulpes Investment Management Ltd., told Bloomberg TV in Singapore. “We are way ahead of the fundamentals after this bounce” in risk assets this year, he said.

Sterling is on the back foot again after UK lawmakers Tuesday rejected the government’s latest deal to leave the European Union, raising the prospect that the divorce will be delayed or even reversed. Parliament will now probably vote to postpone Brexit this week, and lawmakers — including some of May’s own Cabinet — will likely try to maneuver to force the government to rip up its Brexit plans and start again.

Alongside Brexit developments, investors have a slew of economic data to digest. The latest inflation reading came amid falling prices for autos and prescription drugs, adding to evidence the American economy is in no danger of overheating. In the coming days the focus will turn to Chinese production and retail sales, as well as a Bank of Japan policy decision.

Elsewhere, crude oil prices climbed after an industry report showed an unexpected drop in US fuel supplies.

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