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Trade conflict spreads to tech

In the shadow of looming tariffs both China and the US moved against tech businesses overnight. The escalation saw positive European trading negated by falls in US stocks. Further indications of increasing market nervousness came from bond and commodity markets. The New Zealand dollar may come under pressure after weaker housing and job advertisement numbers.

Both US Micron Technology and China Mobile face restrictions on operations in their export markets following moves by a Chinese court and the White House. Investors’ hopes of a trade deal announcement before the introduction of tariffs on Friday sunk with the developments. Not surprisingly the tech heavy Nasdaq index was the worst performer among major US indices.

Stocks on higher growth estimates and loftier share prices may be vulnerable in Asia Pacific trading today. Bond markets are signalling a lower growth environment and US ten year bonds fell to their lowest yield in more than a month. Oil is capturing headlines, but an ongoing slump in industrial metals is amplifying the concerns expressed by bond traders.

Futures markets are pointing to opening falls across the region. The People’s Bank of China’s promise not to weaponise the Yuan in the current trade conflict helped keep currency markets calm, but the ongoing rout in commodities may see the NZ and Australian dollars tumble.

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