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May 22, 2019, 8:46 a.m. EDT

Asian markets cautious amid lingering trade tensions

Nikkei finishes flat, China stocks lower

By Marketwatch and Associated Press


AFP/Getty Images
The Hong Kong skyline and Victoria Harbour.

Asian stock markets traded mostly mixed Wednesday, as lingering trade tensions weighed on traders.

China’s ambassador to the U.S., Cui Tiankai, said Tuesday on Fox News that “the door is still open” to resuming trade negotiations with the U.S., although no new talks are scheduled. Tensions have ramped up over the past week, though were tempered slightly Monday by reports that the Trump administration will offer 90-day exemptions for some U.S. companies doing business with Huawei Technologies.

However, a fresh wrinkle in the trade saga may have opened after reports the White House may add a handful of Chinese video surveillance firms to a list of blacklisted companies from the country. Shares of Hangzhou HIK Vision Digital (SHE:CN:002415)  fell over 5%, and China’s main stock index eased back.

Japan’s Nikkei (NIKKEI:JP:NIK)   finished flat after data showed exports fell for a fifth straight month in April. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index (HONG:HK:HSI)  inched up 0.1%, while the Shanghai Composite (SHG:CN:SHCOMP)  closed down 0.5% and the smaller-cap Shenzhen Composite (SHENHZEN:CN:399106)   saw a similar loss. South Korea’s Kospi (KOREA:KR:180721)   rose 0.2%, while benchmark indexes in Taiwan (TAIWAN:TW:Y9999)   , Singapore (SES:SG:STI)   and Indonesia (INDONESIA:ID:JAKIDX)   mostly posted losses. From Jakarta came reports of riots, injuries and deaths after supporters of a presidential candidate who lost a Tuesday election clashed with security forces

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 (S&P:AU:XJO)  closed up 0.2%.

Among individual stocks, SoftBank Group (TKS:JP:9984)   rose in Tokyo trading while Suzuki Motor (TKS:JP:7269)   tumbled. In Hong Kong, casino operator Sands China (HKG:HK:1928)   gained while China Mobile (HKG:HK:941)   slipped. SK Hynix (KRX:KR:000660)   slid in South Korea while chip-making rival Taiwan Semiconductor (TAI:TW:2330)   jumped in Taiwan. Westpac (ASX:AU:WBC)   gained but Fortescue Metals (ASX:AU:FMG)   fell in Australia.

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