Asia stocks down, dollar posts gains on positive U.S. data | Reuters

By Nichola Saminather

SINGAPORE Asian shares fell on Friday as investors balanced positions on the last day of the quarter.

The dollar rose on positive U.S. economic growth data and the euro was flat after overnight losses on figures suggesting slowing expansion in Europe.

European shares were headed for a muted start, with financial spreadbetters expecting Britain’s FTSE 100 .FTSE to open 0.3 percent lower, France’s CAC 40 .FCHI to start the day down 0.1 percent and Germany’s DAX .GDAXI to be little changed.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS retreated 0.55 percent. The benchmark is up 12.5 percent for the quarter.

Hong Kong .HSI shares fell 0.6 percent, but were still headed for a 9.8 percent quarterly jump.

“Asia saw some pretty healthy profit-taking after a few sessions of solid gains, and as investors await Eurozone and U.S. inflation data tonight,” said James Woods, global investment analyst at Rivkin Securities in Sydney.

China’s CSI 300 index .CSI300 bucked to trend to add 0.4 percent, putting it on track for a 4.2 percent quarterly rise.

Activity in China’s manufacturing sector expanded at the fastest pace in nearly 5 years in March, beating expectations, an official survey showed on Friday.

The data came as U.S. President Donald Trump foreshadowed a tense meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping next week by tweeting on Thursday that the U.S. could no longer tolerate massive trade deficits and job losses.

Trump will also sign executive orders on Friday aimed at identifying abuses that are causing the deficits and clamping down on non-payment of anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties on imports, his top trade officials said.

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang said on Friday that China does not have a policy to devalue its currency to promote exports, and neither does it seek a trade surplus with the United States.

U.S. stock futures ESc1…

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