Picture: REUTERS
Picture: REUTERS

London — World stocks ended four days of gains on Friday after US President Donald Trump cranked up simmering tension with China by banning US transactions with two popular Chinese apps, Tencent’s WeChat and ByteDance’s TikTok.

Chinese stocks led losers in Asia and its currency slumped after Trump issued the executive orders. His administration said this week it was stepping up efforts to purge “untrusted” Chinese apps from US digital networks and called TikTok and WeChat “significant threats”.

“The US pressure on China’s tech sector appears likely to continue in the presidential elections, injecting volatility in the sector and opening the door to escalatory retaliation,” UBS strategists said.

European stocks opened lower, with major indices down between 0.2% to 0.4% in early trading .

MSCI’s broadest index of world stocks fell 0.2% on Friday after up four consecutive days of gains. It was less than 3% away from a late February peak.

Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 1%, with mainland Chinese indices down more than 1% each, even though Chinese trade data for July showed exports beat expectations.

Risk appetite was also subdued on Friday with hopes fading for a quick deal by US policymakers on stimulus worth at least $1-trillion to support the country’s fragile economy. The White House and Democrats remained far apart on the size of the stimulus package and what to include.

The risk-off mood pushed US treasury yields lower and offered a brief respite to the struggling dollar, which has been under pressure in recent weeks. The 10-year US treasury yield dipped 1.1 basis points to 0.5198%, near Thursday’s five-month low of 0.504%.

Closely watched US non-farm payrolls data, due at 12.30pm GMT, is expected to show an increase of 1.58-million in July, compared with 4.8-million in June.

Gold hit a record high of $2,075.2/oz before succumbing to profit-taking to slip to $2,063.

Silver dropped 1.7% to $28.452/oz following its rise to a seven-year high of $29.838.

Oil prices were little changed, with Brent futures down 0.1% at $45.04 a barrel.

Reuters

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