Powell stresses the central bank's independence in a speech that comes amid continuous pressure from the White House to cut interest rates.The Fedread more
More than 300 companies are talking to government officials in Washington about how detrimental the trade war is.Marketsread more
In a text message, Grisham confirmed to CNBC that she will still be working for the first lady even as she takes on her new roles.Politicsread more
Acting Customs and Border Protection Commissioner John Sanders is resigning amid the furor over the Trump administration's treatment of migrant children.Politicsread more
Investors are piling into gold, sending the precious metal to a six-year high, and analysts think the commodity has established a base to go even higher.Marketsread more
Apple's iOS 13 is coming this fall, but you can already try it on your iPhone with the new public beta. Here are some of the best hidden features.Technologyread more
The Conference Board, a business research group, on Tuesday released the June update for its consumer confidence index.Economyread more
Massachusetts Institute of Technology President L. Rafael Reif warned the MIT community of "serious long-term costs" to in an email to the school community Tuesday.Technologyread more
These are the stocks posting the largest moves midday.Market Insiderread more
The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note falls below 2% as investors look for safety following the release of much weaker-than-expected confidence data.Bondsread more
Trump slams Iran on Twitter for issuing a "very ignorant and insulting statement" after the U.S. slapped fresh sanctions on Tehran.Politicsread more
Shares in South Korea plummeted, while the Korean won also slipped, after the White House announced that the ongoing Vietnam summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Thursday had been cut short with no agreement reached.
The Kospi in South Korea dropped 1.76 percent to close at 2,195.44 while the Kosdaq tumbled 2.78 percent to finish its trading day at 731.25. Shares of industry heavyweight Samsung Electronics and chipmaker SK Hynix fell 3.53 percent and 5.02 percent, respectively. Shares of companies with potential exposure to North Korea were also hammered, with Hyundai Elevator diving 18.55 percent.
The Korean won slipped 0.42 percent to about 1,121.90 against the dollar after seeing an earlier high of 1,115.80, as of 3.05 p.m. HK/SIN.
Elsewhere in Asia, mainland Chinese stocks were mixed on the day, with the Shanghai composite declining 0.44 percent to close at 2,940.95, while the Shenzhen component advanced 0.290 percent to finish its trading day at 9,031.93. The Shenzhen composite rose 0.351 percent to close at 1,546.33.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng index was down more than 0.4 percent in its final hour of trading.
China's factory activity declined for the third consecutive month in February. The official Purchasing Manager's Index slipped to 49.2 in February, data showed on Thursday — its weakest since February 2016. The 50-point index mark separates expansion from contraction on a monthly basis.
Japan's Nikkei 225 and Topix both declined 0.79 percent to 21,385.16 and 1,607.66, respectively. Australia's ASX 200 recovered from earlier losses to end its trading day higher by 0.3 percent at 6,169.00.
Overnight on Wall Street, stocks stateside touched their lows in the Wednesday session as U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer hinted that a trade deal was not yet certain, saying that any agreement would need to be more than just purchases by China.
"It's not clear yet that (Trump's) got a win on that China trade deal," Richard Martin, managing director at IMA Asia, told CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Thursday, adding that the U.S. president was the "only one actually who's saying he's got a win" in his tweets.
"We've yet to see what the Chinese are gonna say and no one has a clue what are in the documents that are being put together," Martin said.
Trade tensions between the U.S. and China eased this week after Trump pushed back a closely-watched deadline on adding additional tariffs on Chinese goods.
"India-Pakistan relationships took a precarious turn yesterday over border skirmishes involving both countries' army and air forces. Questions arise over whether such instances can leave lasting impact on markets," said DBS Group Research in a note. "Developments are fluid and uncertain at this junction."
Past instances, however, have showed that the majority of such tensions between the two countries had a "short-lived and localised" impact, they said.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 96.136 after touching lows below 95.9 yesterday.
The Japanese yen, often viewed as a safe-haven currency, traded at 110.78 against the dollar after seeing an earlier low of 111.00. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7129 after touching an earlier high of $0.7166.
Oil prices traded lower in the afternoon of Asian trading hours. The international benchmark Brent crude futures contract slipped 0.59 percent to $66.00 per barrel. U.S. crude futures were lower by 0.35 percent at $56.74 per barrel.
— Reuters, along with CNBC's Fred Imbert and Everett Rosenfeld, contributed to this report.