Asian stocks flat, euro slides on French election concerns

Asian stocks flat, euro slides on French election concerns

International News

Asian stocks were listless early on Tuesday after Wall Street slipped on concerns about US President Donald Trump’s ability to focus on economic policies, while the euro slid on fears an anti-European Union candidate may be elected France’s next president. Japan’s Nikkei fell more than 0.1 percent, driven lower by demand for the safe haven yen. Australian shares were up 0.2 percent, ahead of the central bank’s policy meeting later in the session when it is expected to keep interest rates on hold. On Monday, US stocks posted losses of as much as 0.37 percent after Trump signed a revised executive order, effective March 16, banning citizens from six Muslim-majority countries from travelling to the United States for 90 days. The new ban, coming after his first attempt was blocked in the courts, removes Iraq from the list and applies only to new visa applicants. Trump’s allegations over the weekend that he was wiretapped by his predecessor Barack Obama, without offering any evidence, have also raised concerns about his ability to focus on his promised economic measures, including tax cuts and a boost to infrastructure spending. The euro was flat at USD1.05795, following a 0.4 percent slide on Monday after former French Prime Minister Alain Juppe ruled out standing in the country’s presidential elections. Weakness in the single currency underpinned the dollar index. A poll on Friday showed that if Juppe replaced the scandal-hit Francois Fillon as the centre-right candidate, he would likely win the election’s first round, with centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron coming second – a scenario that would knock anti-EU candidate Marine Le Pen out of the race.