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Wednesday Morning Briefing: Asian Shares Mixed As Geopolitical Concerns Weigh

Asian shares opened mixed after geopolitical tensions surrounding Syria and North Korea put investors on edge.

U.S. markets edged lower even as the equity market’s standard fear gauge rose to the highest since November. The yen traded flat after rising past the 110 per dollar mark, while gold remained near the highest level this year. Oil rose for the seventh straight session after Bloomberg reported that Saudi Arabia cut output to the lowest since January.

SGX Nifty futures indicate a weak start for Indian equities after the underlying NSE Nifty 50 Index snapped its three-session losing streak on Tuesday.

Geopolitical Worries

The CBOE Volatility Index, Wall Street's fear gauge, closed above 15 for the first time since November 8, as North Korea warned of a nuclear strike if provoked and President Donald Trump said that the U.S. would “solve the problem” with or without China.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson stated that Russia must abandon its support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. The Trump administration asserted that evidence clearly showed Syria was behind a chemical attack on civilians last week. Investors will watch out for Tillerson's visit to Moscow, where he is scheduled to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov later today.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended virtually unchanged at 20,651.3 while the S&P 500 Index lost 0.14 percent, dragged lower by financials and technology stocks.

Also Read: Syria Clearly to Blame in Chemical Attack on Town, U.S. Says

Weak Start?

SGX Nifty futures dropped 0.4 percent to 9,231 as of 7:05 a.m., signalling a weak start for Indian equities.

Indian benchmark indices snapped their three-session losing streak on Tuesday, led by gains in software maker Infosys Ltd. ahead of its fourth-quarter earnings on April 13.

Shares of Reliance Industries Ltd. will be in focus today after its telecom unit Jio announced new subscription plans.

Also Read: World-Beating Stock Rally Hinges on Corporate India’s Profits