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Asia: Stocks off day's lows as yuan opens with calm
[SYDNEY] Asian stocks came off their lows of the morning as China's markets opened with an advance in the yuan, the decline of which has unsettled investors amid trade tensions and prompted verbal calming from Chinese officials.
Despite some signs of stability after the recent hit to Asian equities, the yen strengthened with gold, a sign that havens remain in demand. Equities in China and Hong Kong edged lower, while gains in the yen weighed on Japanese shares. China's yuan rose for a second day after the nation's central bank vowed to keep the currency stable and not to deploy it as a weapon in the trade conflict with the US. The greenback remained under pressure ahead of a US holiday Wednesday.
All major US equity benchmarks dropped Tuesday, with the S&P 500 Index stumbling after a Chinese court temporarily banned chip sales by the American firm Micron Technology Inc. in the country. Emerging-market currencies climbed after the pledge from China's central bank helped assuage concerns about the biggest developing economy. Next up in the trade dispute are US tariffs on some Chinese goods, scheduled to come into effect on Friday.
Elsewhere, oil traded above US$74 a barrel while Mexico's peso retained most of its gains from Tuesday as investors turned optimistic about the country's incoming president. The US celebrates Independence Day on Wednesday, July 4. Stock and bond markets are closed, along with government offices.