Asian shares struggled on Thursday, taking their cues from a lacklustre day on Wall Street as investors locked in gains in thin trade ahead of the upcoming holidays.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was slightly higher in early trade, while Japan’s Nikkei stock index slumped 0.6 percent.
U.S. stocks, which have been on a tear since the Nov. 8 election on bets that the incoming Trump Administration will embark on growth-stimulating, inflation-stoking policies, pulled back from the record highs logged in the previous session.
“There weren’t any major market-making data points coming out, and I think that’s why the markets are kind of taking a breather,” said Jennifer Vail, head of fixed income research at U.S. Bank Wealth Management in Portland, Oregon.
Later on Thursday, the United States will release a third revision of U.S. third quarter gross domestic product.
“It could be a volatile day if it comes in either substantially stronger or substantially weaker,” she said.
Thin liquidity could also amplify moves, with many investors already departing ahead of this weekend’s Christmas holiday. Markets in Tokyo will be closed on Friday for the Japanese Emperor’s birthday.
The dollar was flat against its Japanese counterpart at 117.56 yen, below its 10-1/2-month high of 118.66 touched on Dec 15.
The euro was up 0.1 percent at $1.0430, struggling to pull away from Tuesday’s low of $1.0352, which was the single currency’s deepest low since January 2003 as it came under pressure from the ascendant dollar and fears over Italy’s bank crunch.
Troubled bank Monte dei Paschi di Siena expects to burn through around 11 billion euros of liquidity more quickly than previously forecast, an updated document on the bank’s website showed on Wednesday.
The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six rival currencies, slipped 0.1 percent to 102.960, as investors took profits after its rise to a 14-year peak of 103.650 earlier this week.
Crude oil prices steadied after pressure overnight by a report showing a surprise build in U.S. crude inventories last week, as well as news that Libya expects to boost production over the next few months.
But the contract roll for front-month U.S. crude to the higher-priced February from lower-priced January pushed U.S. crude up about 0.5 percent. It was last up 0.1 percent at $52.56 per barrel.