Asian shares hit 11-month low on Middle East anxiety, surging yields

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SYDNEY, Oct 20 ― Asian shares plumbed a fresh 11-month trough today as fears of a regional conflict in the Middle East intensified and as a relentless rise in long-term US...

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A much-watched speech overnight from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell led to a choppy market response, although most investors leaned further into bets that the Fed will extend its rate pause in November.MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan skidded 0.8 per cent to a fresh low since November last year, bringing the weekly loss to a sizeable 3 per cent. Tokyo's Nikkei fell 1 per cent and was down 3.6 per cent for the week.

US President Joe Biden in a speech yesterday asked Americans to spend billions more dollars to help Israel fight Hamas, as an expected ground invasion with the aim of annihilating Hamas nears. Gold prices scaled a fresh two-month peak of US$1,982.09 (RM9,444.53) per ounce, the highest since late July, as investors sought safe-haven assets in the turmoil.

However, Powell walked a narrow line in his remarks, leaving open the possible need for more rate hikes because the economy had proved stronger than expected, but also noting emerging risks and a need to move with care.

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