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Asian markets on edge as US strikes Syria amid Xi summit

Associated Press logo Associated Press 7/04/2017 By KELVIN CHAN, AP Business Writer
A man walks past an electronic stock board showing Japan's Nikkei 225 index at a securities firm in Tokyo, Friday, April 7, 2017. Asian stock indexes sank Friday as the U.S. fired missiles at a Syrian air base during President Donald Trump's first meeting with China's president, leaving investors on edge over the global outlook. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko) © The Associated Press A man walks past an electronic stock board showing Japan's Nikkei 225 index at a securities firm in Tokyo, Friday, April 7, 2017. Asian stock indexes sank Friday as the U.S. fired missiles at a Syrian air base during President Donald Trump's first meeting with China's president, leaving investors on edge over the global outlook. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

HONG KONG — Asian stock indexes were mixed and oil prices rose Friday after the U.S. fired missiles at Syria during President Donald Trump's first meeting with China's president, leaving investors on edge over the global outlook.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index rose 0.4 percent to 18,664.63 after dipping earlier in the day. The Shanghai Composite index added 0.3 percent to 3,290.88. South Korea's Kospi lost 0.2 percent to 2,148.12. Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed 0.6 percent to 24,135.26 and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 slipped 0.2 percent to 5,843.20. Southeast Asian indexes were mostly lower.

AIRSTRIKES: U.S. warships fired about 60 cruise missiles at a Syrian government-controlled air base in retaliation for a horrific chemical attack against civilians. The attack was a reversal for Trump, who had previously warned against involvement in the Syrian war but now says it is in the "vital national security interest" of the United States.

US-CHINA SUMMIT: The strikes came as Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping opened a high-stakes summit in Florida. Tensions over trade and North Korea's nuclear ambitions are among big topics on the agenda for the first meeting between the leaders of the world's two biggest economies. Trump appeared lighthearted as he greeted Xi ahead of a dinner on Thursday evening before the two were to tackle specifics the next day.

MARKET VIEW: "Formalities have been exchanged in the first day between the two leaders," said Jingyi Pan of IG in Singapore. "The second day is when the two sides are expected to delve into more market moving issues. Any tense outcomes could jeopardize potential gains for markets from positive economic data."

ENERGY: Oil prices jumped on concerns the airstrikes would add to Middle East turmoil. U.S. benchmark crude added 59 cents to $52.30 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract added 55 cents, or 1.1 percent, to settle at $51.70 a barrel on Thursday. Brent crude, the international standard, rose 56 cents to $55.45 a barrel in London.

PRECIOUS METAL: Gold, considered a haven from uncertainty, also jumped as investors sought safety following the U.S. military action. The price of gold rose $13.40, or more than 1 percent to, $1,266.70 an ounce. Silver made a similar leap.

SAMSUNG'S QUARTER: The South Korean electronics giant posted a 48 percent jump in profits for the first three months of the year, beating analyst forecasts. Samsung released an upbeat earnings preview despite some of its top executives facing trial in a corruption scandal. Full numbers are due later in the month.

WALL STREET: Major U.S. benchmarks ended slightly higher. The Standard & Poor's 500 index added 0.2 percent to 2,357.49. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.1 percent to 20,662.95. The Nasdaq composite gained 0.2 percent to 5,878.95.

CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 110.57 yen from 110.80 yen. The euro rose to $1.0648 from $1.0645.

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