Asia Stocks Set for Worst First Half Since 2010

(Bloomberg) -- The slide in Asian stocks paused Friday, though the benchmark index is still poised for its worst first half since 2010, as investors await more clarity on the trade spat between the U.S. and two economic behemoths China and Europe.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 0.9 percent to 166.10 at 4:27 p.m. in Hong Kong, led by rebounds in most stock markets across the region. The Shanghai Composite Index rose 2.2 percent as most traders and analysts surveyed by Bloomberg expect policy makers to act to slow the currency’s slide once it gets close to 6.7 per dollar in China’s onshore market. Japan erased declines and closed 0.2 percent higher as the yen weakened.

“Factors that supported a 2017 rally have all reversed in the first half,” said Linus Yip, Hong Kong-based chief strategist at First Shanghai Securities. “The market will continue to be weak, probably going south further, unless we see a major improvement in global trade friction."

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index is poised for its worst quarterly decline since 2015.

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