Asian shares mostly lower amid jitters ahead of trade talks

10-May-2019 Intellasia | AP | 6:00 AM Print This Post

Asian shares were mostly lower Thursday amid investor jitters ahead of the latest round of trade talks between the US and China.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 was down 1.3 percent in early trading to 21,333.22. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.4 percent to 6,291.60. South Korea’s Kospi dropped 1.0 percent to 2,145.82. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 1.6 percent to 28,549.70, while the Shanghai Composite shed 1.0 percent to 2,862.98.

On Wall Street, a late-afternoon reversal added to the market’s losses following a steep sell-off a day earlier as investors worry that the costly trade dispute between the world’s two biggest economies will escalate.

Financial markets turned volatile this week after President Donald Trump threatened to impose more tariffs on Chinese goods, a threat that is set to become reality early Friday. Negotiations between the US and China are scheduled to continue in Washington on Thursday, and will include China’s top trade official.

The S&P 500 index fell 4.63 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,879.42. The benchmark index had been up 0.5 percent. The Dow Jones Industrial Average inched up 2.24 points, or less than 0.1 percent, to 25,967.33. The Nasdaq composite dropped 20.44 points, or 0.3 percent, to 7,943.32. The Russell 2000 index of small company stocks slid 7.34 points, or 0.5 percent to 1,574.97.

“The pressure looks to continue amid the trade concerns found within the market with heightened volatility a new normal this week,” said Jingyi Pan, market strategist with IG in Singapore.

The US and China have raised tariffs on tens of billions of dollars of each other’s goods in their dispute over US complaints about China’s technology ambitions and practices.

Investors have been anticipating a deal throughout this year, which contributed to double-digit gains in all the major indexes. But the latest tough talk is raising anxiety on Wall Street and casting more doubt about a resolution.

The US government has filed plans to raise tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports from 10 percent to 25 percent Friday. If it follows through on those plans, it would mark a sharp escalation in the yearlong trade dispute that has raised prices on goods for consumers and companies.

The Trump administration also has threatened to extend 25 percent tariffs to another $325 billion in Chinese imports, covering everything China ships to the United States.

The possibility that the trade dispute could escalate represents a marked shift from just a few weeks ago, when talks between the US and China appeared to be on track for an agreement.


Benchmark US crude fell 63 cents to $61.49 a barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, lost 69 cents to $69.69.


The dollar slipped to 109.89 yen from 110.06 yen. The euro fell to $1.1187 from $1.1202.


Category: FinanceAsia

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