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Asian markets hit by fears over Trump economic agenda

Asian markets turned negative on Wednesday as Republicans´ struggle to push through controversial health care legislation fuels concerns about the chances of Donald Trump passing his much-vaunted economic agenda.

Global markets soared in the months after the tycoon´s November election victory as traders bet his plans to slash taxes and red tape while ramping up infrastructure spending would fire the world´s top economy.

But his failure to pass an overhaul of Obamacare — a key campaign promise — despite his party controlling Congress has led many to question his ability to deliver his major promises.

The president´s lack of detail on his economic plans led the International Monetary Fund to cut its 2017 and 2018 US growth projections.

“US lawmakers have withdrawn the Senate Health Care Bill till after the summer recess. This is a blow to the Trump agenda because it makes tax cuts all the more difficult,” said Greg McKenna, chief market strategist at AxiTrader.

All three main indexes on Wall Street ended sharply lower and the losses filtered through to Asia, with the technology sector taking a hit. Big-name giants including Seoul-listed Samsung, Japan´s Sony and Tencent in Hong Kong were all lower.

Tokyo´s Nikkei ended 0.5 percent lower, while Hong Kong lost 0.6 percent, Singapore gave up 0.1 percent and Seoul dropped 0.4 percent.

Wellington, Taipei and Manila also retreated but Sydney rose 0.7 percent.

Adding to the selling were concerns about another wave of global cyberattacks reminiscent of May´s WannaCry virus that crippled organisations and companies in 150 countries.

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Mian Bilal

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