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Asian markets quiet as U.S.-China trade tensions linger

MarketWatch logo MarketWatch 11/19/2018 Dow Jones Newswires
ASIA MARKETS
a sunset over a body of water: Asian stock markets were mostly calm Monday.© Getty Images/iStockphoto Asian stock markets were mostly calm Monday.

Asian stock markets were subdued in early trading Monday, as investors remained cautious of tensions between the U.S. and China after a pan-Pacific summit ended without consensus on trade issues.

Japan’s Nikkei (JP:NIK)  rose 0.3% as the yen (USDJPY)  bounced off some of its weakest levels of November versus the dollar. The dollar was at ¥112.80, versus a session low around ¥112.60. A report Monday found Japan posted a larger-than-expected trade deficit in October, mostly due to a surge in energy imports. Tokyo Electron (JP:8035)  was up 3% while Murata Manufacturing (JP:6981)  gained 1.6%. But life insurers were weak as some questions have emerged about whether the Fed will again hike rates next month and how many more may occur in 2019. Sony Financial (JP:8729)  was down 3.8%.

Hong Kong stocks cooled after a strong early start, as the Hang Seng Index (HK:HSI)  approached negative territory. Internet heavyweight Tencent (HK:0700)  was up slightly while smartphone-component maker AAC (HK:2018)  rebounded 3%. Utilities were a sore spot.

Chinese stocks were little changed, with the Shanghai Composite (CN:SHCOMP)  up fractionally while the smaller-cap Shenzhen Composite (CN:399106)  fell slightly. Large-cap financial and energy stocks were slightly higher while health care and materials were a touch lower.

South Korea’s Kospi (KR:SEU)  was about flat, as Samsung (KR:005930)  fell almost 1%, while benchmarks in Singapore (SG:STI)  and Taiwan (XX:Y9999)  dipped.

Australia’s ASX 200 (AU:XJO)  fell 0.7% as energy stocks fell, and New Zealand’s benchmark (NZ:NZ50GR)  sank as well.

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