Asian markets slide after US housing slowdown

Guy Bentley
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Asian markets are in retreat after the US posted worse than expected home sales and Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe confirmed that a trade deal with the US had not yet been agreed.

It was hoped that a successful free trade deal between the US and Japan would be precursor to the completion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would erase tariffs among twelve countries.

Questions over the strength and sustainability of the US recovery combined with a declining Chinese growth rate have raised a note of scepticism over the global recovery.

Investors remained cautious despite technology giants Facebook and Apple delivering record earnings for the first quarter of 2014. Apple's revenues climbed to $45.6bn, while profit jumped 7.3 per cent to $10.2bn, the company's highest earnings for six quarters.

Facebook enjoyed substantial gains from its mobile advertising, with revenues reaching $2.5bn and profit rising by 70 per cent to $642m.

Japan's Nikkei is down 0.9 per cent, while the Topix has retreated 0.8 per cent. South Korea's Kospi has fallen by 0.2 per cent despite the country's increasing growth rate. The Hong Kong Hang Seng Index has made minor gains of 0.1 per cent, while the Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index slipped 0.14 per cent.