HONG KONG, RAW – Asian shares have steadied in early trading after losses earlier in the week, but China jitters and global growth concerns weighed on investors’ minds, while the dollar sat near a three-week high.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan recovered from early losses to trade flat on Friday, but was still down 2.7 per cent on the week.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 0.5 per cent after posting its lowest close in 10 months the day before, as the saga around China Evergrande Group lurched towards a conclusion, unsettling investors.

The embattled property developer’s shares dropped a further five per cent on Friday.

Australian shares fell 1.03 per cent, as a fall in iron ore prices hurt miners. However, Chinese blue chips eked out a 0.26 per cent rise and Japan’s Nikkei edged up 0.42 per cent to head back towards a 31-year high hit on Monday.

US stock futures, the S&P 500 e-minis, were down 0.6 per cent.

“We’re looking at a market that is nervous, though hasn’t seen sentiment turn outright bearish,” said Kyle Rodda, an analyst at IG markets.

“If you look for catalysts that could justify the next move to the upside in equities and risk assets, they are nowhere to be seen because global growth concerns are keeping investors on edge,” he said.

Chinese data earlier this week suggested growth in the world’s second-largest economy will slow in the second half of this year, while economists polled by Reuters said they expected the US economic rebound to have been dented in Q3, partly on the spread of the Delta coronavirus variant.

While respondents pushed back expectations for the Federal Reserve to announce a tapering of asset purchases to November, a likely move this year provided little support for risk assets.

This also meant that strong US retail sales data overnight, a reprieve after a series of underperforming data reads, did little to boost US equities. Any rise in sentiment was outweighed by gains in both US yields and the dollar, which pressured market-leading tech stocks and weighed on exporters.

In Asia, the yield on benchmark 10-year Treasury notes was 1.3378 per cent compared with its US close of 1.331 per cent, and the dollar gained 0.04 per cent against a basket of other majors.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.18 per cent, the S&P 500 lost 0.16 per cent, but the Nasdaq Composite inched up or 0.13 per cent, supported by Amazon after the retail data.

Gold recovered marginally, with the spot price trading at $US1,755.03 per ounce, up 0.2 per cent after reaching a one month low on Thursday as higher yields hurt the non-interest bearing metal.

US crude dipped 0.22 per cent to $US72.45 a barrel. Brent crude fell 0.26 per cent to $US75.53 per barrel, but both are still hovering just below their highest levels since early August.