Investors stateside also digested the release of minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee’s March meeting, which reflected that “all” policymakers expected the U.S. economy to continue growing and for inflation to rise. Those views strengthened the belief that more interest rate hikes lay ahead.
Gold prices, which rose on the back of heightened political risk, slipped following the release of minutes from the Fed.
Ahead, earnings are likely to be in focus, with J.P. Morgan Chase and Citigroup among the major banking names reporting on Friday.
Over in Asia, futures pointed to a slightly lower open on Thursday. Nikkei futures traded in Chicago were lower by 0.08 percent at 21,670 compared to the index’s Wednesday close.
Australian SPI futures were last off by 0.17 percent at 5,798.
On the earnings front, Japan’s Fast Retailing is expected to announce semiannual results for fiscal 2018 later in the day.
Asian markets had bounced earlier in the week after remarks from Chinese President Xi Jinping promising some steps to further open up China’s economy. That came after an elevation in trade tensions between the U.S. and China in recent weeks.
That confidence wavered slightly in the last session as investors in the region awaited signals that Xi’s comments would translate into action. Negotiation between the world’s two biggest economies is also seen by analysts as unlikely to instantly solve tensions.
In currencies, the dollar came under pressure against the safe-haven Japanese currency amid the pick up in geopolitical risk overnight. Against the yen, the dollar traded at 106.81 by 7:02 a.m. HK/SIN.
The dollar index, which tracks the U.S. currency against six rival currencies, stood at 89.568 at the end of Wednesday.
Oil prices surged in the last session as markets focused on geopolitical risk. U.S. West Texas Intermediate tacked on $1.31 to settle at $66.82 per barrel and Brent crude futures added $1.02 to settle at $72.06.
Global benchmark Brent touched its highest levels in more than three years following Trump’s tweet on Wednesday.