Indian stock markets are likely to be pressure on Thursday as September quarter corporate earnings kickstart. Global equity markets tumbled and the safe haven yen and Swiss franc gained in early Asian trade on Thursday, on signs that Washington and Beijing still have a long way to go on resolving trade issues, with little progress made in deputy-level talks.

The South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported the Chinese delegation, headed by Vice Premier Liu He, planned to leave Washington just a day after minister-level meetings, instead of as originally planned on Friday.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan eased 0.31%, while Japan’s Nikkei slipped 0.11%.

The SCMP report on the US-China trade talks came less than a couple of hours after US President Donald Trump told reporters he thought China wanted to make a trade deal more than he did. Chinese government officials told Reuters that Beijing has lowered expectations for significant progress from this week’s trade talks with the United States, upset by the blacklisting of Chinese companies. Top negotiators from the two countries were scheduled to meet in Washington on Thursday and Friday to try to end a bruising 15-month-old trade war.

Without significant progress, Trump is set to hike the tariff rate on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods to 30% from 25% next Tuesday.

Back home, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Wednesday rejected the proposed merger between Lakshmi Vilas Bank and Indiabulls Housing Finance Ltd, scuppering the first ever attempt by a non-bank lender to merge with a bank in the country.

Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd, India’s most profitable telecom operator, will start charging for calls made to rival networks at 6 paise a minute, reneging on a promise to keep voice calls free for its customers and signalling the end of a bruising tariff war.

Shares of Tata Consultancy Services Ltd (TCS) will be in focus as the IT major will announce its September quarter results on Thursday. TCS is expected to fall to single-digit levels, after four consecutive quarters of double-digit growth. Analysts expect the company to report 9-9.5% growth, down from 10.6% in Q1.

In the currency market, the yen advanced up to 0.4% to 107.035 to the dollar and last stood at 107.33. The Swiss franc also gained as much as 0.4% to 0.9923 franc per dollar.The Chinese yuan dropped 0.4% in offshore trade to 7.1685 per dollar, touching its lowest in five weeks before bouncing to 7.1461. The euro firmed slightly to $1.0986. Sterling wobbled near one-month lows against the dollar and the euro as hopes of a break-through on a key sticking point for a Brexit deal were dashed.

Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party, a coalition partner in the British government, said it would emphatically oppose a reported European Union concession on the Irish backstop under any Brexit deal. The pound last stood at $1.2212, near Tuesday’s five-week low of $1.2196.

The Turkish lira retreated to six-week lows as Turkish troops, together with their Syrian rebel allies, attacked Kurdish militia in northeast Syria, opening a fresh chapter in Syria’s eight-year-old civil war. The lira fell to 5.8777 per dollar, the lowest since its flash crash on 26 August.

US Treasuries yield slipped back after having risen to 1.594% on Wednesday, pressured partly by this week’s heavy bond supply. The 10-year US Treasuries yield dropped 3.3 basis points on Thursday to 1.554%.

Oil prices also slid on the report on US-China talks. Brent crude futures fell 0.55% to $58.00 a barrel while US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude lost 0.48% to $52.34 per barrel.

(Reuters contributed to the story)

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