Two sessions of sunshine. Then President Trump defends his role in the global trade dispute, and claims any short-term damage is irrelevant. Predictably, sentiment inverted. Stocks slumped and bonds and gold rallied as growth fears returned in overnight trading. The US dollar reversed course and fell against other major currencies.

The scene is set for a choppy Asia Pacific trading session. Both Australian and New Zealand ten-year bonds are again trading close to all time low yields and futures markets indicate weak share market openings across the region. Industrial metals remain under pressure, although oil markets lifted as preliminary data indicated a drawdown on US inventories this week.

As the US reporting season draws to a close corporate Australia hits full stride. More than 10% of the top 200 companies front shareholders today. The results so far are skewing negative, and accompanying commentary is generally less than inspiring.

Market darling A2 Milk reported a 47% lift in profit as baby formula sales jumped. However the stock is closer to all-time highs and the result was slightly below analysts’ forecasts. Fellow Kiwi Fletcher Building may face less friendly reactions from shareholders after both reported well below expectations.

Mineral sand miner Iluka provided a highlight with a 41% lift in earnings. Auto parts distributor Bapcor and telco Spark NZ also delivered results above consensus estimates.