Asian Shares Mostly Lower Amid US-China Trade Worries

Asian Shares Mostly Lower Amid US-China Trade Worries

Asian stocks ended mostly lower on Tuesday as an escalation of trade tensions between the U.S. and China as well as rising military tensions between the two countries dented investors’ appetite for risk.

After announcing a renewed trade deal with Mexico and Canada, U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday said it was “too early to talk” with China any time soon to resolve an escalating trade dispute between the two nations.

Media reports also suggest that the Chinese military has dropped high-level security talks planned for mid-October with U.S. Secretary of Defence Jim Matti.

China’s financial markets remained closed for the week-long National Day holidays. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index slumped 2.38 percent to finish at 27,126.38 as traders returned to their desks after a long holiday weekend.

Investors fretted about the outlook for China’s economy after data released over the weekend showed a slowdown in China’s manufacturing sector in September.

Japanese shares closed at a fresh 27-year high as a weaker yen boosted investor optimism over corporate earnings growth. The Nikkei average rose 24.86 points or 0.10 percent to 24,270.62 while the broader Topix index closed 0.33 percent higher at 1,824.03.

Exporters Canon, Honda Motor, Toyota Motor and Panasonic rallied 1-3 percent. Ono Pharmaceutical jumped over 3 percent on news that a Nobel Prize was awarded to researchers for a cancer-fighting method used in its drug Opdivo.

Discount clothing chain Shimamura lost 8.2 percent after cutting its profit forecast for the year ending February 2019.

Australian shares fell notably, led down by banks after the release of Royal Commission’s interim report last week. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index dropped 46.10 points or 0..75 percent to 6,126.20, while the broader All Ordinaries index ended down 46.90 points or 0.75 percent at 6,245.80.

Financials extended recent losses, with the big four banks closing down between 0.7 percent and 1.2 percent. Investment bank Macquarie Group declined 1.6 percent and insurer Suncorp shed 1.3 percent.

AMP tumbled 2.9 percent on news that corporate watchdog ASIC was preparing to launch the first royal commission-related legal action against the wealth manager over the fees-for-no-service scandal.

Gold miner Evolution Mining dropped 1.1 percent, Newcrest lost 1.9 percent and St Barbara gave up 2.6 percent after the precious metal hit six-week low last week.

Surging oil prices helped lift energy stocks, with Beach Energy, Santos and Origin Energy rising between half a percent and 1.3 percent.

Australia’s central bank today left its benchmark interest rate unchanged, as widely expected, saying the low level of interest rates is continuing to support the Australian economy.

Seoul stocks tumbled amid heightened U.S.-China tensions over a broad range of issues. The benchmark Kospi fell 29.31 points or 1.25 percent to 2,309.57 as foreign investors remained net sellers for the third consecutive session.

Tech shares bore the brunt of the selling with Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics and SK Hynix losing 1-3 percent. Chemical firm LG Chem lost more than 4 percent.

In economic releases, industrial production in South Korea jumped 1.4 percent sequentially in August, Statistics Korea said. That follows the 0.5 percent increase in July. On a yearly basis, industrial production advanced 2.5 percent, accelerating from the 1.0 percent gain in the previous month.

New Zealand shares finished marginally lower after the influential NZIER Quarterly Survey of Business Opinion showed another drop in business confidence.

Overnight, U.S. stocks ended mostly higher after the U.S. and Canada reached a deal to revise the North American Free Trade Agreement, helping to alleviate some of the concerns surrounding trade.

The Dow climbed 0.7 percent and the S&P 500 added 0.4 percent while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite slid 0.1 percent.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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