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Asian stocks show resilience after US tech slump

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The S&P 500 Index closed below its average price for the past 200 days for the first time since June 2016, with fresh presidential criticism of Amazon.com and retaliatory tariffs from China rattling investors. — Bloomberg

Stocks in Asia demonstrated some resilience after a sharp sell-off in the once much-favored U.S. technology shares, sending volatility soaring. The dollar came under pressure against major peers, while Treasuries steadied.

Equity benchmarks were down less than 0.5 percent in Tokyo and Seoul after the S&P 500 Index tumbled more than 2 percent. U.S. equity futures also advanced. Chinese shares underperformed. U.K. FTSE 100 Index futures were lower as European markets return from Easter break. The Australian and New Zealand dollars had the biggest gains among G10 currencies against the greenback.

The S&P 500 Index closed below its average price for the past 200 days for the first time since June 2016, with fresh presidential criticism of Amazon.com and retaliatory tariffs from China rattling investors. The Cboe Volatility Index jumped 18 percent.

After the worst three months for global stocks in more than two years, the second quarter started on the back foot as trade-tension worries festered and technology shares got slammed. The risk-off tone comes two weeks before earnings season begins, with investors still anticipating a strong showing, though watchful for signs of any slowdown in the synchronized global expansion and strains from Federal Reserve tightening.

“What we are really seeing across the economies and markets are opposing forces playing out: in the economy you are seeing Fed versus inflation, in markets you are seeing momentum versus fundamental supports,” JPMorgan Asset Management Global Market Strategist Hannah Anderson told Bloomberg TV. “Investors need to be aware of these opposing forces along with a lot of the headline risk we are seeing come through when it comes to trade and regulation and how that’s going to impact their portfolios.”

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Fanning the rout in tech, the biggest gainers of the bull run, U.S. President Donald Trump renewed his attack on Amazon, sending shares of the online retailer down the most in more than two years. Intel Corp. also had its worst day in two years, after Apple Inc. was said to be planning to use its own chips in Mac computers from 2020.

Elsewhere, the Reserve Bank of Australia left interest rates unchanged at its monthly meeting. Crude steadied after its biggest loss in almost two months as fears of a trade war prompted investors to dump commodities and gold held onto gains.

Here are some key events coming up this week:

The New York Fed debuts the Secured Overnight Financing Rate on Tuesday. The Reserve Bank of India decides on policy Thursday. U.S. employment data are due Friday; the jobless rate probably fell in March after holding at 4.1 percent for five straight months. — Bloomberg

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